Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Demand the "Drug Provision" of the HEA be eliminated

Being that many of us are involved with higher education in one way or another as students, teachers, etc., and many of us come to this point from having had a lot of "life experience" which may not have been legal or productive, we all value the opportunity available in such "second chances."

That said, I feel it is vital to spread this information, and please feel free to do likewise. It concerns the Drug Provision of the Higher Education Act. If you are not aware of it, the amendment provides that any student or potential student loses the chance to be award any financial aid, simply from one drug possession charge. There are no such provisions for rape, murder, terrorism, or armed robbery. Drug users, especially minorities, are being unfairly targeted by this part of the HEA, and are being denied rights that criminals of much worse ilk are privy to.

Just imagine, getting caught with as much as one joint could lead to the denial of your student aid, whereas you could rob, rape, and murder dozens of people without such losing your financing.

Please join the NAACP, ACLU, and Click Back America in petitioning for the removal of this racist and unjust legislation. You can join the petition here. (Don't forget to select Kaplan College from the College Click Drive list if you don't already have a school!)

The following are excerpts from a Click Back America email:

The Drug provision is an amendment to the Higher Education Act that strips all federal education assistance, (including all loans and all work-study funds) from any student with any drug-related conviction. This includes non-violent, first-time misdemeanor marijuana possession, which is the most common drug conviction in America.

To date, the "Drug Provision" has denied 153,000 students an affordable college education, and deterred countless thousands more from even applying. And now the Bush administration has chosen to vigorously expand enforcement, ensuring many more will be locked out of a better, more productive life.

Here are just a few of the reasons to oppose the "Drug Provision":

1) It slams the door on students struggling to use education to build
a better life. That increases the likelihood of repeat offenses and
more serious crimes.

2) All students covered by the "drug provision" have already been
punished by a judge who had the option of withholding educational
assistance. That means the "drug provision" only actually affects
students in cases where judges have decided NOT to cut these funds,
usurping the role of the courts and virtually guarantees that the law
is only applied in cases where it is NOT appropriate.

3) It primarily hurts the poor - wealthier students are less likely
to be convicted of drug offenses, and can attend college even without
the federal aid if necessary.

4) Drug convictions fall disproportionately on racial minorities, and
this law transfers that well documented discrimination into
educational access and the chance for a better future.

5) The "Drug Provision" has resulted in absolutely no measurable
reduction in drug use among any segment of the population.

Thanks, everyone. Stay vigilant!

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