Pubdate: Thu, 06 Aug 2009
Source: Chattanooga Times Free Press (TN)
Copyright: 2009 Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc.


We've seen what happened when banks, under pressure from Congress, 
lent money to home buyers who were poor credit risks: Lots of those 
buyers are in default, and the mortgage crisis spawned by bad lending 
practices helped cause the recession.

But Congress hasn't learned.

Liberals in the House of Representatives now want to start offering 
federal financial aid to college students even if they have been 
convicted of illegal drug use or possession. Backers of a bill to do 
that say helping students go to college could aid their rehabilitation.

But student loans are not a rehabilitation program. They are meant to 
help students get through college. That means lending the money to 
those students who are most likely to graduate from college and be 
able to repay the loans. Which do you think is more apt to graduate: 
a student who has obeyed the law and avoided the use of illegal 
drugs, or a student who has a drug problem?

Denying federal aid to students who abuse drugs is not about 
punishing them. It is about making the most productive use of 
taxpayer dollars. Plus, granting student aid to drug abusers reduces 
the amount available to law-abiding students, which is unjust. And as 
Rep. Mark Souder, R-Ind., pointed out, keeping the ban on federal 
loans to drug users can have a deterrent effect.

"A student who knows that his financial aid could be suspended if 
he's convicted of a drug crime will be less likely to use or deal 
drugs in the first place," he told McClatchy Newspapers.

Congress should reject the attempt to ease that ban.
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