House Democrat offers bill to let students with pot conviction retain federal aid

House Democrat offers bill to let students with pot conviction retain federal aid
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Rep. Bill FosterGeorge (Bill) William FosterEach state's population center, visualized Congress's role in the AUKUS nuclear-powered submarine deal Overnight Defense: Senators reach billion deal on emergency Capitol security bill | House panel looks to help military sexual assault survivors | US increases airstrikes to help Afghan forces fight Taliban MORE (D-Ill.) introduced a bill Friday aimed at helping people who have been convicted of minor marijuana offenses not lose their access to federal student aid. 

The measure would amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to allow those convicted of possession of marijuana without intent to distribute to retain access to aid for a six-month window while they “complete an approved drug rehabilitation program.”

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Under current law, a suspension of federal student aid is automatically triggered after an individual is convicted of a drug offense. 

Foster said the Second Chance for Students Act — co-sponsored by Democratic Reps. Gwen MooreGwen Sophia MoorePentagon 'aware' of reports Wisconsin military base's struggle to feed, heat Afghan refugees Wisconsin GOP quietly prepares Ron Johnson backup plans Pelosi picks Democrats for special panel tackling inequality MORE (Wis.), Hank JohnsonHenry (Hank) C. JohnsonThe truth of Jan. 6 is coming to light — accountability will fall to the courts Georgia Republicans advance map that aims to pick up House seat in redistricting Democrats call out Biden Supreme Court commission MORE (Ga.) and Seth MoultonSeth MoultonUkraine president, US lawmakers huddle amid tensions with Russia Gallego leads congressional delegation to Ukraine Bill seeks to aid families of Black WWII veterans deprived of GI benefits MORE (Mass.), and Del. Eleanor Holmes NortonEleanor Holmes NortonHolmes Norton: Cruz effort to block DC student vaccine mandate 'crosses the line' Overnight Health Care — Presented by AstraZeneca and Friends of Cancer Research — Former advisers urge Biden to revise strategy Cruz looks to overturn DC student vaccine mandate MORE (D-D.C.) — was necessary to prevent individuals from derailing their futures “over one mistake.”

“For many students, financial aid can mean the difference between staying in school and dropping out,” Foster said in a statement. 

“This legislation would ensure that students stay in school while they complete the required rehabilitation program. No student should have their future determined by one bad choice.”

Moore argued the current law has a significantly negative impact on minority students, a policy she feels needs to change. 

“Losing financial aid can be devastating and often determines whether one can remain in school,” she said.  

“This policy harms students of color, who are often targeted for low-level offenses like marijuana possession. It’s why I am thrilled to support this bill because a marijuana conviction shouldn’t jeopardize a students’ future or access to educational opportunity.”