The criminal defense attorneys at ENLawyers explain how drug-related convictions can affect eligibility for Federal student aid.
Individuals convicted of drug-related offenses face a number of consequences. Aside from the potential incarceration, probation and fines that can result from drug-related crimes, offenders may find that their conviction affects their ability to obtain employment and housing. Being convicted of a drug-related crime, under certain circumstances, can even jeopardize the ability to obtain or remain eligible for Federal student aid. Below, the ENLawyers have provided basic information regarding how drug-related convictions can affect student aid eligibility.
As specified by the United States Department of Educ
ation Office of National Drug Control Policy, individuals who are convicted of a drug-related crime while receiving financial aid will become ineligible to receive aid. Individuals are classified as ‘receiving aid’ under the following conditions:
- An individual is currently enrolled in classes for which they applied for Federal aid
- The term for which aid was requested or applied for has begun and classes are underway*
*Individuals may also be considered to be receiving aid during holiday breaks from term, with the exception of summer break.
If an individual is charged with a drug-related felony or misdemeanor offense during a period of enrollment for which they were not receiving Federal student aid, the conviction will not count against their Federal-aid eligibility.
The period of ineligibility that results from drug-related convictions will vary, as it is dependent on the nature and number of crimes committed. For convictions related to possession, ineligibility details are as follows:
- First offense for possession of illegal substances results in one year of ineligibility beginning on the date of conviction
- Second offense for possession of illegal substances results in two years of ineligibility beginning on the date of conviction
- Third offense for possession of illegal substances results in an indefinite period of ineligibility
For convictions related to the sale of illegal drugs, ineligibility details are as follows:
- First offense for sale of illegal substances results in a two-year period of ineligibility beginning on the date of conviction
- Second and third offenses for the sale of illegal substances result in an indefinite period of ineligibility
Individuals convicted of drug-related offenses who become ineligible for Federal student aid have the ability to shorten their specified period of ineligibility. One way to do so is to complete an approved drug rehabilitation program and pass two unannounced drug tests. Alternatively, if an individual agrees to take and passes two unannounced drug tests administered by an approved agency, their period of ineligibility may be lessened. Lastly, if an individual has their conviction reversed or established as invalid, the period of ineligibility for Federal student aid may be reduced or eligibility may be reinstated.
For additional information regarding the effect of drug-related convictions on Federal student aid, or to inquire as to how a conviction may affect your aid eligibility, see the Federal Student Aid Eligibility Worksheet here. If you have additional questions related to drug possession and sales charges, other drug-related crimes or the individual circumstances related to your case, contact the criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Eldridge and Nachtman.