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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Do drugs, lose financial aid

Tonisha Mauldin had more than her clean record at stake when campus police found marijuana in her IUPUI student apartment last fall.

A drug conviction could have forced her to drop out of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Mauldin said, because she depends on loans and scholarships to pay for school.

Federal law strips financial aid from college students with drug offenses. That law has hit Indiana harder than any other state since it took effect six years ago, according to an activist group that has joined a nationwide push to overturn the law.

I support this law. It is well within the government's rights to place any legal restrictions on its programs. Besides, it's a lesson students need to learn. You need to play by the rules, especially when someone is giving you something for free. In the real world, you have to abide by any number of restrictions that are a lot worse than simply obeying the law and avoiding a little gratification. You don a suit, you put in overtime, you do uninteresting assignments because that's what the boss said to do. In academics, you publish and work for tenure. As a business consultant, you need to build relationships and bring in new clients in order to become a partner.

Really, you have to wonder about the future educational success for someone with the bad judgment to risk thousands of dollars of scholarships in exchange for an evening of getting high.

An advocacy group called Students for a Sensible Drug Policy opposes this law. Rather than simply call for an end to this restriction, this organization (along with other libertarian and liberal pro-legalization groups) could support these students who have their scholarships and financial aid withdrawn. Follow these students in college and beyond. Where denied financial aid would remove them from college, this donation would allow them to complete college, and open doors that would otherwise be denied. In ten years, when these students are successful young adults, trumpet the fact that "Drugs didn't ruin our lives." Maybe then, people will see concrete examples of how some drugs aren't dangerous.

That plan will only work, of course, if people do turn out successful. The stereotypical pothead is not a person inclined to strive and seek great accomplishments. And as long as that image persists, you're not likely to see a majority in favor of any drug legalization.


At 1:43 AM, Blogger honestpartisan said...

Nothing helps someone get over a drug problem like denying them an education.

At 10:20 PM, Blogger Greg said...

1. Anyone with a drug problem is highly likely to drop out of school due to failing courses.

2. Cutting off funding does not equal denying them an education. It might mean working at the cafeteria and transferring to the local community college, or it might mean taking on debt outside of the federal program.

At 2:49 PM, Blogger change said...

my friend and i were in front of my house when a car stops in the corner ends up been an under cover. he stops us and checks the car he finds less than a gram of weed and writes a sitation now my friends scared as hell to lose his financial aid since his goes to an out of state college. is that justice.


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