Student Loan Access
Our nation's drug laws doubly punish students with drug convictions who receive financial aid. After navigating the criminal justice system, these young people then face an enormous barrier to moving forward with their education. Federal grant and loan programs established in 1968 by the Higher Education Act assist millions of students each year that would not otherwise have the opportunity to attend college. In 1998, Congress passed an amendment authored by Rep. Mark Souder that denies federal financial aid to any student with a drug conviction, so that one brush with the law can permanently destroy a student's prospects for a successful future. Additionally, the law creates an unfair environment where a drug conviction for an economically disadvantaged student carries much more serious consequences than a drug conviction for a student who does not receive financial aid. The Drug Policy Alliance is working to repeal the Souder amendment so that students with drug convictions can access the financial aid that could mean the difference between continuing their education and not.