Student loan/drug offender screening continues
- By William Matthews
- Mar 08, 2000
A computer matching program designed to keep drug offenders from getting
student loans will continue, even though the automated matching effort has
led to few loan denials.
The Education Department's Office of Student Financial Assistance said
Wednesday it is renewing a long-running agreement with the Justice
Department to share information kept in agency computer databases to
identify student loan applicants who have state or federal drug convictions
that make them ineligible for loans.
The matching program compares Social Security numbers and the first two
letters of a loan applicant's last name with similar information kept in a
Of 9.8 million applications sent to the Education Department for the
1999-2000 school year, 24 were rejected after being flagged by the Justice
The Justice Department's Denial of Federal Benefits Clearing System keeps
track of names, Social Security numbers, birth dates and other information
on individuals convicted of federal or state drug offenses and those
seeking student loans. The Justice database also lists benefits that
convicted drug offenders are prohibited from receiving.
The two agencies routinely renew the program, which runs for 30-month
cycles, an Education official said. The department is required under the
1988 Anti-Drug Abuse Act to screen out applicants ruled ineligible for
loans because of drug convictions.