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Does a drug conviction affect federal student aid?

| Oct 7, 2020 | Drug Charges

With the average yearly tuition and fees at public universities topping $10,000, you may need financial assistance to achieve a college education. Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid is the first step in knowing whether you qualify for government-backed grants, loans or work-study.

A drug conviction may have various consequences on your education. For example, you may have trouble gaining admission to your first-choice school. You also should investigate whether a conviction may interfere with your ability to obtain a professional license after you graduate. Does a drug conviction affect federal student aid, though?

Completing your FAFSA form

When preparing your FAFSA form, you must answer questions about past drug convictions. If you have a drug-related incident on your record, you must complete an additional worksheet to better describe the conviction. Specifically, you must detail when the drug conviction occurred. If the conviction happened recently, you may receive a denial of your request for initial financial aid.

Understanding your eligibility

Usually, if a drug offense happens when you were already receiving government-backed student aid, a conviction results in the suspension of financial assistance. If you fail to report your conviction and continue to receive aid, you may have to reimburse the government. Therefore, it is critical to notify your school’s financial aid office of any drug conviction that occurs after you file your FAFSA form.

Reinstating your financial assistance

While a drug conviction may cause a suspension of your federal financial aid, you have a couple of options for reinstatement. First, you can complete an approved rehabilitation program. Alternatively, you can pass two consecutive surprise drug tests at an approved testing facility. If you do either of these during your award period, you may be eligible to receive all or most of your federal student aid.

Though facing charges for a drug offense may cause you stress, you may not lose out on federal financial assistance for your educational expenses. To ensure you receive enough funds to complete your education, though, you must be careful to comply with FAFSA’s disclosure requirements.

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