In 1998, Congress passed a law denying federal financial aid to any student with a drug conviction. There are no laws that deny aid to violent or other criminal offenders, and wealthy students who use drugs are not affected.
Just 20 years ago, California had a world-class, affordable public university system. With the adoption of aggressive drug laws and "three strikes" legislation, spending on prisons has exceeded budgets for schools, the environment and health care. Today California has a world-class prison complex, a powerful prison special interest lobby, and major financial problems. This trend is echoed nationwide.