NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

DRUG CONVICTIONS COSTING STUDENTS THEIR FINANCIAL AID

April 17, 2006

One in every 400 students applying for federal financial aid for college is rejected because of a drug conviction, an analysis of Department of Education numbers by a drug policy overhaul group found.

  • A study by Students for Sensible Drug Policy says 189,065 people have been turned down for financial aid since the federal government added a drug conviction question to the financial aid form in the 2000-01school year.
  • A September report from the Government Accountability Office shows that in the 2003-04 academic year, about 41,000 applicants for federal student aid were disqualified because of drug convictions. A student can regain eligibility, however, by completing a rehabilitation program that includes random drug tests.

According to the researchers:

  • Indiana has the highest percentage of rejections, with one in 200 students denied financial aid because of drug convictions.
  • Other states ranking above the national average are Oregon, California, Washington, Rhode Island, North Carolina, Connecticut, Arkansas, Texas, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Iowa and Alaska.

Indiana Rep. Mark Souder, a Republican and author of the legislation, says it makes no difference how the states rank.

"The principle remains the same: the American taxpayer should not be subsidizing the educations of those students who are convicted of dealing or using illegal drugs," Souder says.

Source: Donna Leinwand, "Drug convictions costing students their financial aid," USA Today, April 17, 2006; based upon: "Harmful Drug Law Hits Home: How Many College Students in Each State Lost Financial Aid Due to Drug Convictions?" Students for Sensible Drug Policy, April 17, 2006.

For text (subscription required):

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2006-04-16-drugs-students_x.htm

For SSDP study:

http://www.ssdp.org/states/ssdp-state-report.pdf

 

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