Although an estimated 200,000 students since 1998 have already lost their financial aid due to the Higher Education Act’s anti-drug provision, Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN) withdrew his amendment to the House’s new Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act. Souder’s amendment would have continued denying financial aid to students with drug-possession convictions. The bill is likely to pass with a “distribution-only” penalty.
This contentious issue has drawn the attention of hundreds of diverse organizations over the past eleven years, including the American Bar Association, the United Church of Christ, and the NAACP, who have all called for the law’s full repeal. While some people believe even discussing the reform of drug policies is equal to promoting drug use, reforming this law is supported by educational, religious, human-rights, and social-justice groups around the country.