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How does a drug-related conviction affect college financial aid?

On Behalf of | Apr 15, 2021 | Drug Crimes

Paying for college nowadays often requires some financial acrobatics. After all, the average tuition and fees at public universities in the U.S. have increased by more than 200% in the past two decades. Fortunately, your child may be eligible for government-backed grants, loans or work-study funds. 

The school your son or daughter plans to attend likely has a deadline for completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. To be sure your child does not miss out on available funding, you should complete the application by this deadline. If your son or daughter has a drug-related conviction, though, government-backed financial aid may be unavailable.  

Problematic drug-related convictions

When completing the FAFSA, your son or daughter must disclose any drug conviction that occurred during his or her award review period. A conviction for possessing or distributing a controlled substance is likely to trigger an immediate suspension of federal financial aid.  

The financial aid suspension

The length of your child’s financial aid suspension depends on both the nature of the drug conviction and the number of convictions on his or her record. One-year and two-year suspensions are possible, as are indefinite ones. It is important not to use financial aid received in error during a suspension, as your child may have to repay the funds. 

Some options for ending the suspension

If a drug-related conviction results in a financial aid suspension, your son or daughter has the option of waiting out the suspension and applying again. Alternatively, your child may be able to end the suspension early by either completing an approved rehabilitation program or successfully passing two unannounced drug screenings.  

The best time to plan for a financial aid suspension is often before the suspension happens. In fact, fighting drug-related charges aggressively may help your child avoid a suspension altogether.