Federal and state governments regulate the character of their residents as a condition of immigration, employment, social services, and beyond. At the state level, “good moral character” rules have been analyzed in depth for decades, mostly as they pertain to admission to the bar and other licensed professions. Character requirements also affect the ability of college students to get state-funded financial aid, but these policies have received no scholarly analysis. According to this study’s findings, there have been at least 54 state financial aid grant programs with character rules, which begs the question: what does it mean to be a “good” college student? This paper offers an original study of the character requirements of state financial aid programs, including analysis of how character requirements were and still are interpreted and enforced. New insights are offered on the meaning of good moral character in this higher education law context that contribute to the wider literature on the use of good moral character requirements.
The above excerpt was originally published in BYU Education & Law Journal.
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