Newsbrief: Bush, Kerry, Nader Respond to HEA Query 10/22/04

Drug War Chronicle, recent top items


recent blog posts "In the Trenches" activist feed


The nonpartisan web site New Voters Project has elicited positions from the leading presidential candidates on reform or repeal of the Higher Education Act's anti-drug provision, which bars students with drug convictions, no matter how minor, from receiving federal financial aid for specified periods of time. The HEA question, submitted by Students for Sensible Drug Policy ( member Margaret Reitler of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, was one of 12 selected by the New Voters Project. Other topics included foreign policy, the death penalty, the draft, and social security.

On the HEA, all three candidates supported either scaling back the anti-drug provision or eliminating it altogether:

"Education is perhaps the best way for someone who has been involved with drugs or crime to turn their life around," said Democratic candidate John Kerry. "If a young person has overcome past obstacles and is ready to go to college, I don't think that a nonviolent drug conviction in their past should prevent them from doing so. And the reality is that preventing them from obtaining federal loans means they won't be able to afford to go to college."

President Bush also called for a partial reform of the financial aid ban, saying, "My 2005 Budget proposes to fix the drug provision of the Higher Education Act so that incoming students who have a prior drug-related conviction would be able to receive Federal student aid, and only students convicted while in college would lose their eligibility for student aid."

Bush's position echoes that of HEA anti-drug provision author Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN). Although the law he wrote denies financial aid for any drug conviction, he now says he wants to "reform" the law so that it only applies to drug convictions incurred while students are in college.

Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader called outright for the repeal of the HEA anti-drug provision. "Repeal the Higher Education Act drug provision as it applies to nonviolent offenders. The drug war has failed -- we spend nearly $50 billion annually on the drug war and problems related to drug abuse continue to worsen."

Neither Bush nor Kerry went far enough, according to SSDP. "Scaling back the drug provision would help tens of thousands of students get back into college, but the proposed 'fix' fails to address the fundamental problems with this law," said SSDP executive director Scarlett Swerdlow. "At-risk students will still be pushed away from education and into cycles of failure under Rep. Souder's proposal. We, the students of this country, find it disappointing that the two major candidates for president have failed to explicitly state their support for fully repealing this misguided law."

Visit to see the candidates' full answers.

-- END --
Link to Drug War Facts
Please make a generous donation to support Drug War Chronicle in 2007!          

PERMISSION to reprint or redistribute any or all of the contents of Drug War Chronicle (formerly The Week Online with DRCNet is hereby granted. We ask that any use of these materials include proper credit and, where appropriate, a link to one or more of our web sites. If your publication customarily pays for publication, DRCNet requests checks payable to the organization. If your publication does not pay for materials, you are free to use the materials gratis. In all cases, we request notification for our records, including physical copies where material has appeared in print. Contact: the Drug Reform Coordination Network, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 293-8340 (voice), (202) 293-8344 (fax), e-mail [email protected]. Thank you.

Articles of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of the DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.

Issue #359, 10/22/04 Editorial: Twenty Years? | California Initiative to Rein-In Three-Strikes Law Appears Headed for Victory | English Drug Reformers Map Route to Post-Prohibition Drug Policy | In California Senate Race, Judge Jim Gray Gets No Respect from Media, Polls, or Debates, Despite Strong Showing | DRCNet Book Review: "15 To Life: How I Painted My Way to Freedom," by Tony Papa with Jennifer Wynn Feral House Press, $22.95 HB) | A Message from the Executive Director on What DRCNet is Planning After Election Day and Why We Need Your Help | Newsbrief: Kerry Says Feds Should Butt Out of Oregon Laws | Newsbrief: Alaska Marijuana Initiative Backers Sue Lieutenant Governor Over Election Pamphlet | Newsbrief: Bush, Kerry, Nader Respond to HEA Query | Newsbrief: African-American Professional Groups Form Coalition to Change Drug Policies | Newsbrief: Federal Judge Rules Cops Can Lie on the Stand | Newsbrief: End of Opium Cultivation Spells Looming Disaster for Burmese Peasants | Newsbrief: Three Dead in Peru Coca Confrontation -- Cocaleros Occupy Buildings in Provincial City | Newsbrief: Dutch Medical Marijuana Program Runs Up Against Law of the Market | Newsbrief: Actress's Marijuana Bust Challenge Causing Waves in South Korea | Newsbrief: Canadian Government to Reintroduce Marijuana Reform Bill, But Adds Driver Drug Testing, Too | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories | This Week in History | The DARE Generation Returns to DC: Students for Sensible Drug Policy 2004 National Conference Next Month | Apply Now to Intern at DRCNet! | Administrative Assistant: Part-Time Job Opportunity at DRCNet | The Reformer's Calendar

This issue -- main page
This issue -- single-file printer version
Drug War Chronicle -- main page
Chronicle archives
Out from the Shadows HEA Drug Provision Drug War Chronicle Perry Fund DRCNet en EspaŮol Speakeasy Blogs About Us Home
Why Legalization? NJ Racial Profiling Archive Subscribe Donate DRCNet em PortuguÍs Latest News Drug Library Search
special friends links: SSDP - Flex Your Rights - IAL - Drug War Facts the Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet)
1623 Connecticut Ave., NW, 3rd Floor, Washington DC 20009 Phone (202) 293-8340 Fax (202) 293-8344 [email protected]