Think that denying access to education hurts young people? Tell Congress!

Lost your aid because of a drug conviction? Scholarships are available!



Largely due to the unpopular war in Iraq, the U.S. Military is having trouble meeting its recruiting goals.

To make up for the enlistment shortcomings, the Bush administration has loosened restrictions and is granting more so-called “character waivers” to allow more people with drug convictions to sign up.

Meanwhile, President Bush and some of his friends in Congress support a law that has prevented 200,000 aspiring students from getting the financial aid they need to afford college just because they have drug convictions (most often for misdemeanor marijuana possession).

Of course, young people should be able to serve our country in whatever way they think they best can – whether by going to college and becoming a doctor or a lawyer, or by enlisting in the armed services.

But the “Drug War Draft” created by the Aid Elimination Penalty limits opportunities and forces countless young people out of school and into the military to fight a war they may not agree with. Eerily, the Pentagon-commissioned RAND report Recruiting Youth in the College Market (PDF) states: “The [armed] services might be able to significantly expand their pool of potential recruits by adopting policies that target youth who plan to go to college…”

Take action now and tell Congress to overturn misguided Drug War policies that target youth!

Visit our main campaign page on the HEA Aid Elimination Penalty for more info.


  • 200,000 students have been denied education opportunities since the Aid Elimination Penalty was added to the Higher Education Act in 1998.
  • 18 percent of Army recruits in Fiscal Year 2007 year needed waivers for past criminal behavior, according to the Military Times.
  • More than 350 prominent education, addiction recovery, civil rights, and religious organization have called on Congress to overturn the aid elimination penalty.
  • More information about the Aid Elimination Penalty can be found here