Congress Shuts Down 'Insane' College Financial Aid for Sex Offenders

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Some of the nation's worst sex offenders will no longer be eligible to receive generous educational financial aid packages while they are confined in treatment centers under a bill approved by Congress.

A little-noticed provision of a broader higher education bill makes such offenders ineligible for Pell Grants, the nation's premier financial aid program for low-income students, starting July 1, 2009.

Both the Senate and the House approved the bill late last week and President Bush is expected to sign it into law.

The Associated Press reported in March that dozens of rapists and child molesters have taken higher education classes at taxpayer expense while confined to treatment centers.

"Today, the most insane wasteful spending program in America comes to an end," Rep. Ric Keller of Florida said on the House floor Thursday before his plan won approval.

Keller cited the AP report that some offenders were using the financial aid to buy clothes, DVD players and music CDs — sometimes after they dropped their classes.

The provision affects 20 states, including Wisconsin and California.