If you are a college-aged student, you probably know how expensive pursuing higher education can be. Fortunately, according to the U.S. Department of Education, you can compete for roughly $120 billion in government-backed financial aid every year. Your college or university also probably offers financial aid packages.
During the war on drugs, the DOE implemented a draconian policy that caused students with drug convictions to become ineligible for loans, grants and work-study funds. That policy no longer exists. Therefore, you are not likely to lose your federal financial aid following a drug conviction. The financial assistance you receive from your college may be a different story, though.
Disclose your conviction
Even though the DOE no longer considers drug convictions when awarding federal financial aid, you continue to have an affirmative obligation to disclosure your convictions. When completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, you should respond honestly about any convictions during your award period. Then, you should prepare any related worksheets the FAFSA’s instructions require.
Check your code of conduct
When you applied for your university’s financial aid, you probably agreed to follow a code of conduct. This code likely prohibits you from using, possessing or selling controlled substances. Consequently, you must check your code of conduct to see if a drug conviction endangers your university aid. The same is true for any private scholarship dollars you receive.
Even though you may still be able to afford college, a drug conviction is likely to have other serious consequences. Ultimately, by preparing a smart defense, you may be able to minimize the fallout from your drug arrest.