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Do drug convictions still jeopardize federal financial aid?

On Behalf of | Nov 15, 2021 | Criminal Defense

Obtaining a bachelor’s degree is more expensive than ever. In fact, according to reporting from U.S. News and World Report, the average cost of college tuition has increased by between 144% and 211% since 2000.

The U.S. Department of Education says nearly 7 million students take advantage of roughly $150 billion in federal grants, loans and work-study programs annually. Until recently, a conviction for possessing or distributing a controlled substance forced an immediate suspension of federal financial aid. Luckily for students, this harsh policy has come to an end.

Your financial aid package

The U.S. Department of Education no longer suspends government-backed financial aid for students who have drug-related convictions. When preparing your Free Application for Federal Financial Aid, though, you still have an obligation to answer questions about your drug convictions. You may also have to file an additional worksheet with your FAFSA. If so, you must provide truthful information on the worksheet.

Your drug charges

If you are facing charges for a drug-associated offense, you do not have to worry about college becoming unaffordable. Nevertheless, a conviction for a drug charge may have other educational consequences. For example, your college or university may suspend or expel you from school. You may also have trouble competing for private scholarships, landing internships or participating in academic clubs.

The best time to minimize the fallout of a drug-related conviction is before the conviction happens. That is, there is often a noticeable difference between charges and convictions. Ultimately, by exploring all possible defense options, you may keep your drug charges from ruining your future.