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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!

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.

news about drug convictions and college aid, from Drug War Chronicle:

Victims of the Drug Provision

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