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House Education and Labor Committee Passes Measure Exempting Drug Possessors from Losing Financial Aid

The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, hometown news outlet of Rep. Mark Souder, reported July 22, 2009 that the House Education and Labor Committee "eased restrictions [...] on students who are convicted of drug possession, erasing a provision authored by [Souder]" in 1999, which "limits [drug offenders'] access to federally guaranteed student loans" ("Critics Try to Soften Souder Law"). If the bill wins approval from the full House and the Senate, students convicted of possessing illicit substances "would no longer risk losing the scholarships, loans and work-study assistance" on which they might depend to continue their educations. Current law denies access to such funding to students convicted of drug offenses during their academic tenures. Although "limits on student aid would" under the proposed legislation "continue on students convicted of selling illegal drugs," the late July vote brings students found guilty of possessing drugs one step closer to holding onto the financial aid they need to reach their educational and other related goals.

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