The Aug. 16 editorial "Losing Student Loans" pointed out two of the many problems with the Higher Education Act's drug provision -- problems that will continue to cost thousands of students access to education every year, even if the partial reform of the law sponsored by Rep. Mark Edward Souder (R-Ind.) passes.

Although the reform allows for financial aid to be restored at the completion of certain drug treatment programs, as the editorial mentioned, the majority of approved programs are as costly as tuition.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the average cost of an outpatient treatment program is $1,433 and the average cost of a residential treatment program is $3,880. The average annual cost of a four-year public school is $5,132. A two-year public school averages $2,076 a year. If a student is struggling to pay tuition, how can we expect that student to afford a treatment program?

More than 240 organizations -- including the National Education Association, the American Bar Association, the Association for Addiction Professionals and the American Federation of Teachers -- support the full repeal of the Higher Education Act's drug provision. Congress should tear down this barrier to education.


Outreach Coordinator

Coalition for Higher Education Act Reform