To the People

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or TO THE PEOPLE.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Should Sex Offenders Not Be Eligible for Student Aid?

Rep. Ric Keller (R) of Florida thinks most definitely that they should not.
''This is the most insane waste of taxpayer money that I have seen in my eight years in Congress,'' said Rep. Ric Keller, R-Fla., who is pushing to stop the practice. ''It is a national embarrassment that we are wasting taxpayer dollars for pedophiles and rapists to take college courses while hardworking young people from lower-class families are flipping hamburgers to pay for college.''
[Fact check: federal student aid that goes to sex offenders has zero effect on what hamburger flippers or any other American can receive in aid; it is not a zero sum game and everyone is eligible.]

Rep. Keller has introduced a bill that would ban sex offenders from receiving Pell grants, which is the form of aid available to low-income students and is especially helpful to them because it is a grant, not a loan. People convicted of drug offenses are already banned from accessing student loans under similar punishment logic. Murderers are still free to seek government aid.

IMHO, a convicted criminal's pursuit of higher education is a good thing and not an outrage that should be banned de facto by denying student aid. What is the goal here? Permanent outcast status for sex and drug offenders or rehabilitation and a path to stability and re-entry into society?

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