Will a drug conviction affect your financial aid?

| Nov 24, 2020 | Drug Crimes

Obtaining a four-year degree is one for the more effective ways to achieve the American dream. On average, individuals with bachelor’s degrees earn about $26,000 more per year than those who only have high school diplomas.

Still, because tuition and fees tend to be expensive, furthering your education may require some financial help. To qualify for federal grants, loans and work-study jobs, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

The FAFSA asks about drug convictions

If you are a first-time applicant for government-backed financial aid, you may not have to answer questions about your criminal record. Before receiving continuing financial assistance, though, you likely must disclose drug convictions. Specifically, if you have a conviction or selling or possessing a controlled substance, you must reveal it on your second and subsequent applications.

Certain convictions trigger financial aid suspensions

Drug convictions usually trigger automatic suspensions of government-backed financial aid. If you have a first-time conviction for possessing a controlled substance while receiving financial assistance, you may receive a one-year suspension. A first-time conviction for selling illegal drugs may result in a two-year pause.

You can shorten the length of your suspension

If you are facing a suspension of your federal financial aid, you have the option of waiting until the suspension lapses on its own. You can also probably shorten the length of your suspension. To do so, you may either complete a rehabilitation program or pass two unannounced drug tests.

Either way, to ensure you do not miss out on vital financial help, you should notify your college or university of your efforts to reinstate your financial aid.