The price for a decent education increases every year, especially in good universities and colleges. This is why it makes perfect sense for diligent students to work hard to attain scholarships and grants to be able to pursue their education without having to worry about tuition. In the past, students only had to accomplish a battery of tests and maintain high grades to get these scholarships and grants. Now, though, many schools have started to implement drug testing as well, as additional criteria before these students are awarded certain scholarships.
This of course, can affect the outcome of a student’s application for scholarships and grants—whether he is a first-time offender or a repetitive user. Naturally, drug testing as part of the criteria for granting scholarships has sparked serious debate among parents, faculty and students. Let’s weigh the advantages and disadvantages of this serious matter.
The Advantages of Drug Testing for Giving Scholarships
With the rising drug concerns around the world, some people think that drug testing should be a mandatory step before scholarships are handed out. Here are some of the advantages of drug testing when giving scholarships.
1. Parents will be able to get help for their kids immediately. Often, parents only find out about their children’s drug use when it’s too late and their kids are already deep in addiction. Drug testing implemented before scholarships are given can allow parents to seek help for their kids before they start school.
2. This minimizes students’ chances of ruining their education because of drug use. If scholarships and grants are handed out without drug testing, some teens might be going to college or high school with a drug problem. This increases their chances of getting trouble in school and will even affect their performance. They might end up losing their grants or even getting expelled.
3. Teens with drug problems might be getting scholarships and grants instead of the more deserving students. Without drug testing, there is a possibility that scholarships will be awarded to drug users, limiting the chances of non-drug users for getting grants or scholarships.
4. Drug testing can decrease the percentage of drug users in schools, colleges and universities, since drug users will somehow be prevented from entering these schools or colleges.
5. Drug testing can also help minimize the risk of drug users influencing students in school. If scholarship applicants are screened for the use of drugs, then there is a small chance that users are accepted in schools, thus lessening the risk of other students being influenced by drug abusers.
Disadvantages of Drug Testing for Scholarships
Although there are some advantages to drug testing when choosing applicants for scholarships and grants, there are also a couple of disadvantages that we have to consider, such as the following below.
1. Not all those who have tested positive for drugs are necessarily chronic or long-time users. Some students, being inquisitive and curious teenagers, might have tried out marijuana or even Ecstasy only one time. So, drug testing might crush their chance of pursuing higher education.
2. Drug testing can ruin the chances of a student for a brighter future. Once a student has been labeled as a drug user, it is very hard to erase that stigma. He might not be able to get accepted in universities and colleges or other schools because of this. All of us know how hard it is being a teenager, and we know that some teens fall into the wrong crowd or do drugs because of a variety of problems. This shouldn’t be the sole basis of their chance for a good education.
3. This can also lead a student to rebel further. Instead of trying to get help, students might rebel more, if they find out that they didn’t get a scholarship for college just because their drug test results came out positive.
4. Most people see drug testing as an invasion of privacy. Some parents might even take the issue to court if drug testing becomes mandated along with tests for scholarships and grants, simply because this can be viewed as an invasion of and individual’s privacy.
5. Teens may be judged based on the results of the test, and not entirely on his performance or grades. This shatters the hope of the teen for getting into good schools, even if he has displayed excellent grades and performance all throughout his academic life.
Drug testing when giving out scholarships or grants has its advantages and disadvantages. Ultimately, it is up to the school board and even the parents’ committee to decide if it is necessary, as well as how to implement drug testing in a fair and proper way.
This Article is written by Lena Butler, contributor of Health & Drug Testing Information Center