The Coalition for Higher Education Act Reform
(CHEAR) is a coalition of religious, criminal justice, drug
treatment, education, civil rights, health organizations,
and victims seeking to repeal the Drug Provision of the Higher
Education Act (also known as the "Aid Elimination Penalty,")
a 1998 law that delays or denies federal financial
aid to people convicted of state or federal drug offenses.
Since taking effect in the fall of 2000, over 200,000
students have been denied aid. These young people, who have
already been punished for their offenses, are now dropping
out of school or reducing their course loads because they
cannot afford the high cost of tuition.
Since that time, a major student-led campaign
to overturn the law has spread to hundreds of campuses around
the nation. In early 2006, Congress restricted the reach of
the provision to offenses committed while a student is in
college and receiving federal aid. In late 2007, the coalition
scored another partial victory, with the passage of provisions
to ease the process of getting one's aid reinstated, requiring
the Dept. of Education to do greater reporting on the provision's
impact, and increasing efforts by schools to inform students
of the provision's existence and of ways to get aid back.
This year, CHEAR is supporting language
passed by the House Education and the Workforce Committee to
repeal the provision for drug possessors, supporting Rep.
Barney Frank's (D-MA) bill to repeal the provision in full, and
working for reintroduction of a Senate repeal bill, introduced
last year for the first time by Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT).
Support for CHEAR's efforts is greater than ever before -- there are now more than 400 organizations on record calling for full repeal of the drug provision -- please join our efforts to make this happen now!
is the time to contact your representative!!!
Please take a moment to use our web site to
send a letter to Congress telling
your US Representative and Senators to actively support the
full repeal of this msiguided and ineffective policy. Please
use the menu links at the top of this page to get extensive
information on the issue and find out how to get involved.