OPINION: One drug offense should not kill aid

Current bill only withholds financial aid to students with drug history.

What does drug-related crime have to do with the amount of financial aid for which a student is eligible? According to Indiana Rep. Mark Souder, R-District 4, that kind of illogical leap can be made.

Souder is the author of a bill enacted in 1998 which allows financial aid to be stripped away from students convicted of a drug offense. The measure was intended to apply only to college students already getting loans or grants when convicted.

Under the Bush Administration, however, the Department of Education has interpreted the law to apply to any applicant with a history of selling or possessing drugs, no matter how minor the offense.

The American Civil Liberties Union believes the law is wrong, because drug violations already carry severe penalties and sentences.

Perhaps we are incapable of making Souder's leap, but since when are college students the only demographic in drug crime? This law is discriminatory and lacks vision. Instead of the counterproductive measure of taking education away, the alternative should be considered.

Education is a privilege, but not a reward for obeying narcotics laws.


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