Is American higher education going to pot? While the answer to that question would depend on who you ask, some recently introduced legislation actually pertains to college students convicted of possessing pot. On Friday Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL) introduced a bill that would give collegians convicted for marijuana possession the opportunity to remain qualified for student aid if they attend drug rehabilitation.
“Under current law, a student convicted of possession of marijuana could lose their federal student aid for an extended period of time. The Second Chance for Students Act would allow students convicted of marijuana possession to retain financial aid eligibility for six months while they complete an approved drug rehabilitation program,” according to Rep. Foster’s press release which notes that the cosponsors include Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI), Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) and Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC).
On the other side of the political aisle, Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) introduced legislation earlier this month that would make institutions of higher education responsible for half of the bill when someone who went to that institution defaults on their federal student loans. Hawley’s “Skin in the Game Act” also would prohibit those institutions from jacking up their prices in order to cushion themselves against this financial responsibility.
“This bill requires colleges and universities to pay off 50 percent of the balance of student loans accrued while attending their institution for students who default, and forbids them from increasing the cost of attendance to offset their liability,” a press release explains.
Sen. Hawley also introduced a bill to allow federal Pell Grants to be used for a greater variety of educational opportunities.
The legislation would, “make more job-training and certification programs, like employer-based apprenticeships and digital boot camps, eligible to receive Pell Grants through an alternative accreditation process,” according to the press release. “This bill instructs the Department of Education to develop a new certification pathway to allow job training, apprenticeship, and certification programs to be eligible to receive Pell Grant dollars.”
This week I introduced legislation to hold higher ed accountable: let students use fed loan money for job training & vocational programs, b/c workers shouldn’t have to take on a mountain of debt to get a good job. And make colleges pay back half the loans for students who default pic.twitter.com/wgwOe9UC5U
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) July 19, 2019