Pubdate: Thu, 14 Apr 2005
Source: Oregon Daily Emerald (U of Oregon, OR Edu)
Copyright: 2005, Oregon Daily Emerald
Author: Brian Dolber
Bookmark: (Higher Education Act)


Emily Smith's report on the consequences for reselling prescription
amphetamines ("Student arrested for selling prescription drugs," ODE
April 12) mentions that students with felony drug charges are not
eligible for financial aid. This is true. However, students in Oregon
should be aware that the law extends beyond felony violations.

According to the Drug Provision of the Higher Education Act of 1998, a
student convicted of any drug offense will be penalized not only by
the criminal justice system, but through the financial aid system too.
Individuals with one possession conviction are ineligible to receive
aid for one year. If they have two possession convictions, they are
penalized for two years, while three convictions lead to a permanent
aid ban. Students lose aid for two years for one sale conviction and
permanently for two convictions.

These penalties stick, regardless of whether the convictions were
misdemeanor or felony. Because the law only hurts students who need
financial aid, it is discriminatory against the poor. Because
minorities are convicted of drug offenses at disproportionate rates,
it hinders African-American and Latino students, also at
disproportionate rates, from getting an education.

So far, over 160,500 students have lost aid because of this policy.
Thankfully, Senator Gordon Smith of Oregon has said he would like to
introduce legislation to repeal this law. University students should
visit and contact him to ensure that all
students have equal access to education.

Brian Dolber

Outreach Coordinator

Coalition for Higher Education Act Reform

Washington, D.C.
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