When you arrive at your first year of college, you have your entire educational life ahead of you. If you have a drug conviction in your past, though, paying for higher education may be tough.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid determines whether you qualify for government-backed student aid. A section of this form asks about drug convictions. If you have a conviction for selling or possessing a controlled substance, you must disclose it.
Federal student aid
If your drug conviction occurred when you were already receiving federal grants or loans, the conviction might result in an immediate suspension of your financial assistance. While the length of the suspension depends on the nature of the offense, most suspensions last at least a year.
If you want to reinstate your federal student aid earlier, you must enroll in a qualified rehabilitation program. Then, you must pass a couple of surprise drug tests.
Of course, not all financial aid stems from a government-backed program. If you receive private scholarship money, a drug conviction may also be problematic. That is, the program’s administrator may revoke your scholarship for violating a code of conduct.
Your education may also become more expensive after your drug conviction. If your conviction makes you ineligible for student housing, for example, you may have to find a place away from campus. Unfortunately, private housing is often costlier than the dorms.
Because a drug conviction may result in the loss of your financial aid while education expenses increase, you probably want to explore all options for defending yourself effectively.