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The Dartmouth
June 20, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Gov't to restrict college loans to drug offenders

Students who have been convicted of possession or sale of illegal drugs will be restricted from receiving federal loans or scholarships to finance their college education, according to a new U.S. Department of Education policy.

The policy, which goes into effect on July 1, 2000, will apply to both current and prospective students.

According to the policy, first-time offenders will be restricted from obtaining federal aid for one year, and second-time offenders will be restricted for two years.

Students who are convicted more than once for selling drugs and more than twice for drug possession will lose their eligibility for Federal aid indefinitely under the new policy.

Students applying for financial aid will be required to report their convictions when they file for aid.

Director of Financial Aid Virginia Hazen said the College's financial aid office did not have an estimate on how many Dartmouth students would be affected by this new policy.

But Hazen criticized the revised policy, saying that it put lower and middle-class students at a disadvantage.

"I agree that something needs to be done about the country's drug problem, but I don't agree with this approach," she said. "Withholding financial aid only affects students from low and middle income families. There would be no penalty for a wealthy student who did not need aid."

The new policy is a revised version of a policy introduced earlier this year. The old policy did not make it clear whether colleges and universities were expected to certify whether students were eligible for aid. By requiring students to disclose their records, colleges and universities are not expected to find this information on their own.

"The conviction must be self-reported on the FAFSA, so we don't have to go looking for it," Hazen said.