Smoke a Joint and Your Future is McDonald’s

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 Salon.com
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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