Starting in July, West Virginia has joined other states in offering free tuition at community colleges. In order to qualify for the program a potential student will have to submit to a blanket drug test. This makes the free tuition legislation passed in West Virginia different from anywhere else in the nation.
State Legislature passed West Virginia Invests in March. This new legislation allows people in West Virginia to attend community college and obtain a qualifying certificate or associates degree without paying any tuition. Before beginning classes the potential students must pass a drug test that includes testing for marijuana use.
West Virginia is offering free tuition at community colleges if students pass a drug test. What if Harvard required the same condition? https://t.co/1jj2vZsKPO
— John Warner (@biblioracle) June 27, 2019
John Bolt, a spokesman for WVU, said that this program won’t have any affect on the admissions of regular students. Even students who are receiving need-based tuition assistance won’t be subjected to these rules. The university’s affiliate campus at Potomac State College will be subjected to these rules as they are primarily offering two-year degrees.
If a student is eligible for prescription medicines, including medical marijuana, they will not be subjected to this text.
Why does West Virginia force their students to take a drug test to qualify for this program? According to Rosye Cloud, it’s up to each state to come up with the criteria for eligibility for the programs.
“We support student access and success through promoting and expanding Promise programs. We understand that each state or community must determine their criteria for participation along with financial models that ensure long-term sustainability of the programs,” Cloud said, according to Inside Higher Ed.
While there is certainly a case to be made that students should be drug-free, this does create more hoops for students to jump through in order to benefit from this program. If someone is looking to better themselves and get a degree for free, then giving up recreational drugs should not be too much of an obstacle.