Pubdate: Mon, 08 Dec 2003
Source: Oklahoma Daily, The (OK Edu)
Copyright: 2003 Oklahoma Daily
Note: This paper is published by the University of Oklahoma
Author: Jeff Pickens
Bookmark: (Higher Education Act)


To the Editor:

The Drug-Free Student Aid Provision, which was amended to the Higher
Education Act of 1998, is an unprecedented law blocking educational access
to tens of thousands of students.

Students with minor drug charges are losing the financial aid essential to
afford college.

Students who have already received criminal penalties (fines, jail, etc.)
are now being punished educationally. They pay equal taxes, but are not
given equal access to the educational budget.

This penalty does not apply to many crimes related to violence and theft,
which actually violate the rights of others.

How does restricting any citizen's access to an equal education benefit our
society? Answer: It doesn't. The less educated people are, the more likely
they are to turn to real crime.

It is in our society's best interest to allow students (even drug users)
equal access to financial aid.

The John W. Perry Fund, a project of the DRCNet Foundation in association
with Students for Sensible Drug Policy, provides college scholarships to
students losing federal financial aid because of drug convictions.

Any applicant losing federal financial aid due to a drug conviction,
attempting to attend any school, is welcome to apply.

In the U.S. House of Representatives, H.R. 786 has been introduced to
overturn the drug provision and restore educational opportunities for all
students in need. To support H.R. 786, please contact your U.S.

- -- Jeff Pickens

botany junior

Oklahoma State University
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