The Swarthmore Phoenix reported yesterday that the managing board of Swarthmore College has approved the replacement of federal financial aid that students convicted of drug offenses would lose under the “Drug Free Student Aid Provision” of the Higher Education Act of 1998. The report comes the day after the Yale College Council passed a resolution calling on Yale to adopt a similar policy.
Swarthmore spokesman Tom Krattenmaker confirmed the board’s decision Thursday. The new policy will begin next year, the Phoenix reported.
Myra Smith, the director of financial aid at Yale, said the basic premise for Yale financial aid is that “every student who applies for aid from Yale first applies for federal aid, and must be found eligible for federal aid.” The 1998 provision denied federal aid to students for one year after a first conviction for possession. Multiple offenses lead to longer periods of ineligibility.
Smith said, however, that there no financial aid applicant at Yale has ever been denied federal aid on the basis of a drug conviction.
“If you read the law, it’s pretty limited,” Smith said. “Certainly if I saw one, I would treat it almost like an exception, and I would ask, “Now we’ve seen one, what do you think we should do about it?'”
But Andrew Allison ’04, the YCC resolution’s author, said he does not think it is right for the University to wait for a situation to arise in which a student is affected to formulate a policy.
“Just because there’s never been an instance where this policy has affected a Yale student doesn’t mean the University should lack a policy on this matter,” Allison said.