I have had several friends get caught with marijuana and have it harm their ability to get financial aid to go to college. I was once caught with marijuana, but didn’t attend college until well after the offense had occurred, so I was eligible for financial aid. I didn’t receive financial aid until my senior year of college for some reason, but every dollar I received was very much needed and appreciated.
Congressman Bill Foster (D-IL) has reintroduced a bill that would give students ‘a second chance’ on their financial aid eligibility after they are caught with a personal amount of marijuana. In a perfect world, there would be no penalty at all, but this bill is certainly better than the status quo. Below is more information about the bill, via a press release from Friday, as highlighted in the Marijuana Moment:
Today, Congressman Bill Foster (D-IL) reintroduced legislation to change penalties students face when convicted of minor marijuana offenses. The Second Chance for Students Act would allow students convicted of an offense involving the possession of marijuana to retain financial aid eligibility for six months while they complete a drug rehabilitation program. Under current policy, students convicted of drug offenses lose eligibility for federal financial aid for a period of time.
“One mistake should not ruin a student’s future,” Foster said. “These kinds of convictions can adversely affect a student’s education since they could lose financial aid immediately upon conviction and must enter a program that takes up to six months to complete. I want all students to have the opportunity to succeed. This legislation would ensure that students can stay in school while they complete the required rehabilitation program.”
For many students, financial aid can mean the difference between staying in school and dropping out. Research indicated that once a student leaves school, they have a significantly lower chance of completing a degree.