WEST VIRGINIA, USA — West Virginia started offering community college courses tuition-free July 1. While the concept is nothing new, college students will also be required to pass a drug test in order to qualify, CBS News reports.
Before every semester, students will be required to submit to and pass a drug test in order to keep taking classes without paying for tuition. Nineteen other states have also started rolling out tuition-free programs, but West Virginia will be the first to require students to pass a drug test.
CBS News reports it is a reflection of both the rising cost of college and the opioid crisis, which has hit West Virginia really hard.
Lawmakers hope it will give the state's economy a boost, where only one of five 'prime-age' workers has a college degree. The national average is one in three workers.
The hope is with more access to education and employment opportunities, there will be less need for drugs that can lead to addiction. It may also prepare students for jobs which may also require drug screenings.
Students who have prescriptions for medications, which include medical marijuana, will have an exemption.
Current Democratic candidates running for the presidential election have been vying for nationwide tuition-free community college. Most noteworthy are Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
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