Smoke a Joint and Your Future is McDonald's

| June 7, 2002

Smoke a Joint and Your Future is McDonald's

The Drug-Free Student Aid Provision was passed four years ago amid America's get-tough-on-drugs frenzy, but students and schools have just begun to feel the legislation's effects with the 2001-2002 school year. Janelle Brown in says that the law's antagonism of students with drug histories has prompted a defiance of the law, both from students and schools.

The provision, part of the Higher Education Act, was originally meant to halt financial aid--either temporarily or permanently, depending on the level of the offense--to recipients who were using drugs. But the law is affecting students with a history of drug use who are attempting to leave drugs behind and get ahead in their lives.

'Now, as its impact finally becomes evident, students and civil libertarians are taking a public stand against the law,' writes Brown. 'Last month, Yale University became the fourth private university to announce that it would begin reimbursing students who lost their financial aid because of the Higher Education Act.'

But current countermeasures to the provision may still not correct the damage that has been done to students. Brown asserts that many students who were denied aid did not attempt to enroll again. 'The measures proposed to change or eliminate the Drug-Free Student Aid provision, even if they are passed, will not help the thousands of students already denied financial aid under the measure. It is not likely to influence the many students who, when denied aid, gave up on higher education altogether.'
--Julie Madsen
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