Friday May 17, 2013
Oregon Ranks 2nd in Denying College Aid for Drugs ConvictionsKevin Hays Salem-News.com
In Oregon, one in every 278 aid applicants admitted a drug conviction.
(WASHINGTON D.C.) - New data shows that Oregon has the second highest percentage of college applicants who are denied financial aid due to drug convictions.
Nearly 200,000 would-be students have been affected nationwide.
3,637 Oregon students have been punished under a little known provision of the Higher Education Act that was enacted in 2000.
The new data, is part of a state-by-state report by the national organization Students for Sensible Drug Policy.
The group obtained the information through the settlement of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Education.
Oregon Representative David Wu was one of only two Democrats who voted to keep the aid penalty on the books during a July 2005 meeting of the House Education and Workforce Committee.
Oregon Democratic Representatives Earl Blumenauer and Peter DeFazio are co-sponsors of a bill to overturn the aid penalty. SSDP filed suit against DOE after the government rejected the organization's request for a waiver of a $4,100 fee for the data.
The Dept. of Education refused to give SSDP the information for free, claiming it could lead to drug legalization and that SSDP might commercially profit.
Last month, SSDP and the ACLU filed a separate lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the overarching aid ban for students with drug convictions.
The report and the full state-by-state data is available at http://www.ssdp.org/states. The Freedom of Information Act lawsuit is available at http://www.ssdp.org/SSDP_v_DOE.pdf.
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