Drug Convictions and Financial Aid Eligibility
Under the Higher Education Act, a student may become ineligible for federal student aid upon conviction of any offense involving the possession or sale of illegal drugs while receiving Title IV federal financial aid. Federal aid includes Federal Direct Loans, Federal PLUS Loans, Federal Graduate PLUS Loans, Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, and Federal Work Study.
Penalties for Drug Convictions
Posession of Illegal Drugs:
- First Offense: Ineligible to receive aid for 1 year from the date of conviction
- Second Offense: Ineligible to receive aid for 2 years from the date of conviction
- Third and Subsequent Offenses: Indefinite ineligibility from the date of conviction
Sale of Illegal Drugs:
- First Offense: Ineligible to receive aid for 2 years from the date of conviction
- Second and Subsequent Offenses: Indefinite ineligibility from the date of conviction
How to Regain Eligibility
A student can regain eligibility for federal student aid funds by successfully completing a drug rehabilitation program. To be sufficient to reinstate financial aid eligibility, the program must:
- Include at least 2 unannounced drug tests, AND
- Be recognized as a Federal, State, or local government agency program.
Note: A student will regain eligibility on the day after successfully completing the program. It is the student's responsibility to provide the college with documentation of program completion.
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)-
When completing the FAFSA, please follow the instructions pertaining to Drug Convictions (Question 23) carefully. If you answer "Yes" to having a conviction, you will be given a worksheet to assist you in determining how your conviction affects your eligibility. If you need assistance or have any questions on how to answer this question, call 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) for help from the Federal Student Aid Information Center.