Yale President Richard Levin said yesterday that the University will make an announcement regarding the Higher Education Act very soon.
“We have a proposal [Director of Financial Aid] Myra Smith is taking to the committee,” Levin said. “My sense is it is going to be something students are quite pleased with.”
Levin said the proposal may have gone to the financial aid advisory committee on Monday or Tuesday. He said he thinks an announcement is “very close.”
The “Drug Free Student Aid” provision of the Higher Education Act states that students who have had prior drug convictions will be ineligible for federal financial aid. In February, Swarthmore College announced that they would replace federal financial aid lost by students under this law.
Before Spring Break, the Yale College Council passed a resolution asking Yale to do the same and replace any federal financial aid lost because of drug-related offenses.
“I’m very excited to hear what the administration has decided upon and I hope it conforms with the guidelines recommended in our YCC resolution,” YCC Representative Andrew Allison ’04 said. “And in talking with administrators and students on this issue, I am confident that we see eye-to-eye on the Higher Education Act.”
Under current policy, in order to receive financial aid from Yale, students must qualify for federal financial aid.
“Every student who applies for aid from Yale first applies for federal aid, and must be found eligible for federal aid,” Smith told the Yale Daily News in February. 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 has said, however, that there no financial aid applicant at Yale has ever been denied federal aid on the basis of a drug conviction.
Jean Hoffman ’03, a chairwoman of the New Haven-Yale American Civil Liberties Union chapter, has also campaigned against the Higher Education Act and said she hopes Yale will take a stand against it.
“Yale has a responsibility as an educational institution to protect against the discriminatory policies highlighted in the HEA,” Hoffman said in an e-mail. “I would like to see the administration not only promise to compensate any applicant denied funding as a result of this provision but also publicly acknowledge the dangers of the HEA.”