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Tuesday, 24 October, 2000, 11:12 GMT 12:12 UK
Student grants cut for drug offences
Drugs
Selling or possessing drugs can lead to a loss of grant
Thousands of students applying this year for financial aid in the United States will be refused because of previous drug convictions.

These will be the first young people to be affected by legislation which punishes drug offences by cutting access to student grants.

So far an estimated 7,000 students will lose all or some of the financial aid which they otherwise could have claimed, as the anti-drug rules are put into practice.

Drugs
So far an estimated 7,000 students have lost out because of drug offences

Under the legislation, students can lose a year of eligibility for grants or loans for a first conviction, two years for a second conviction and can lose all their entitlement for a third offence.

The curbs are intended to make students aware of the consequences of drug taking - using a financial penalty as a disincentive.

And it is expected that the penalties will affect about 1% of young people seeking support from the federal education department.

But critics of the scheme say that this penalises the young people who are most in need of financial support and are most likely to drop out of education.

"It denies access to education to those who need it most. It is not a sound anti-drug policy," said Kristi Ringor of the United States Students Association.

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See also:

04 Oct 00 | Education
Drug education improving
06 Mar 00 | Education
Pupils' drug use 'has peaked'
17 Nov 99 | Education
Teacher training to beat drugs
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