WASHINGTON – Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts urged federal officials today to revise college financial aid policies that he says discriminate against children from families headed by same-sex couples and against transgender students.
“Taxpayer-funded financial aid is often being misallocated based on sexual orientation when it should be based solely on financial need,’’ the Bay State Democrat said in a letter addressed to Education Secretary Arne Duncan.
Kerry said federal law is treating same-sex couples differently by not fully recognizing both parents in its determination for awarding student aid. Federal rules, for example, don’t always count step-children in the melded families of same-sex couples, therefore undercounting the family’s number of dependents and increasing the amount the government thinks the parents can afford to pay.
Kerry said he was disturbed by reports that transgender students were being disqualified for aid because of conflicting gender identification on forms. “We should encourage all students to pursue a higher education and turning them away because the bureaucracy can’t ‘compute’ their gender is just wrong.’’