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Do drug convictions affect financial aid eligibility?

On Behalf of | May 12, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

Many people believe that a drug conviction has the potential to put an end to a college student’s financial aid. Until recently, this was true. In the past, any student who received any type of drug conviction while using financial aid stood to become ineligible for financial aid for a year or more.

Federal Student Aid, an Office of the U.S. Department of Education, reports that, nowadays, college students no longer need to worry about whether any drug convictions they receive are going to make them unable to use financial aid.

Rule changes

Opponents to the old rule had long argued that penalizing college students who use drugs by making it hard or even impossible for them to continue their studies was an ineffective means of punishment. The government found out about student drug convictions because it asks about them on the Free Application for Student Aid form that every financial aid-using college student has to fill out each year. While questions about drug use still appear on the FAFSA form, a student’s honest answers no longer disqualify him or her from aid eligibility.

Other possible repercussions

While college students who receive drug convictions do not become ineligible for financial aid, they may face other serious penalties. Some colleges may have honor codes or similar rules in place about drug use, leading to possible expulsion.  A college student may also face other legal repercussions that make it difficult to finish school, such as jail time or steep fines.

If the drug charge a student faces is a felony charge, this may lead to a host of other criminal or collateral consequences, too.