Does a drug conviction impact financial aid eligibility?

On Behalf of | Aug 28, 2021 | Criminal Defense

You want your college student to behave while he or she pursues a college degree. Yet, sometimes, teens and young adults get caught up in their first tastes of freedom and wind up experimenting with drugs or alcohol. You may have heard that any drug conviction your college student receives has the potential to render him or her ineligible for financial aid. While, until recently, this was true, it is now no longer the case.

Not long ago, receiving any type of drug conviction, such as a drug sales or drug possession violation, could lead to a loss of financial aid for previously eligible students.

What is the old rule?

In the past, if your college student received a drug conviction while he or she was using federal financial aid, he or she would lose access to that aid for at least a year and possibly indefinitely. Many people opposed this rule, claiming that it created barriers that prevented many people from furthering their education and bettering themselves. Many opponents also argued that punishing drug offenders by denying them aid was an ineffective way to treat substance-abusing behaviors.

How does it affect FAFSA?

In the past, the way the government found out whether your child had any drug violations was by asking as much on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Students must complete the FAFSA each year they hope to use aid. The FAFSA form still asks questions about drug-related offenses, but your child’s honest answers no longer prevent him or her from using aid.

While a drug violation no longer means a loss of financial aid for your college student, it may create financial and other barriers along your child’s path to a degree.