Pubdate: Thu, 01 Nov 2007
Source: New Paltz Oracle (SUNY, NY Edu)
Note: The opposing YES editorial is at
Bookmark: (Higher Education Act)
Bookmark: (Opinion)


Financial Aid is one thing every parent wishes their child could get
to help pay for college. But the process that one has to go through to
get financial aid has become increasingly tougher over the years, and
many who border certain income levels don't end up getting the
financial support they need. With all the hard work and effort
students and parents put into getting aid, shouldn't it only be given
to the students who prove to be worthy of it?

College is a time for experimentation and "testing the waters," but
why should the government be paying for this experimental time in a
college student's life? This is not what financial aid is made for.

The Higher Education Act states that if a drug conviction occurs (this
is excluding alcohol and tobacco), the financial aid you were given
will be taken away. Federal law suspends your eligibility for
financial aid when a conviction of possession or use of a drug is
proven true. But if a conviction was made before coming to college,
there is still a chance that a person could still be eligible for
financial aid.

According to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Web
site, the law has created many loop-holes, making it possible for
young adults with previous drug convictions to still receive financial
aid. If a drug conviction is made before the age of 18 and the person
is not tried as an adult, they do not have to mark on the FAFSA form
that they were convicted. It is specifically stated on the Web site to
not mark down previous convictions that have been removed from the
record and/or has happened before the age of 18. This means that
someone with no previous drug convictions is still on the same level
as someone else who had a previous conviction, because there is no
evidence that FAFSA can see to prove otherwise. Is this fair?

What about all the other students who could use the extra money to
help pay for college, but can't get it because their Expected Family
Contribution (EFC) being too high? Shouldn't past drug convictions be
taken into consideration when deciding who gets financial aid when the
students are on the same EFC level?

The law protects the students who act responsibly with their financial
aid and condemns those who risk it by doing drugs. Without this
policy, wouldn't it be possible for everyone to get financial aid and
to keep it no matter what? With this policy, the students have to
learn to take responsibility for themselves in order to keep their
financial aid, or risk losing it to someone else more deserving.
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake