Many students rely on their receipt of student loans, grants and other financial aid to pursue their higher education endeavors. While many students are eligible to request this funding, there’s no guarantee that it will continue to flow in.
Several situations may affect your financial aid eligibility including a conviction for a drug-related offense.
How a drug conviction and incarceration affect student financial aid
Generally speaking, any conviction for a drug-related crime can disqualify you from receiving federal student aid, including new student loans — but convictions only count if the crime occurred while you were receiving some federal aid. In fact, you may be asked to return any funds you received during that period.
The specific crime for which you are convicted also matters. If you’re convicted of drug possession, for example, you generally have a year of ineligibility for federal student aid programs. A conviction for drug dealing, however, leads to a two-year suspension from federal student aid — and a second conviction means an indefinite suspension.
Regaining your eligibility for student loans isn’t easy, but it can be done. Completing a drug rehab program and agreeing to random drug testing, for example, are ways to restore your ability to obtain student aid.
How to avoid losing your right to financial aid (among other problems)
A drug conviction can cause you to lose more than student financial aid. It can cost you your right to public housing, food stamps and other benefits you might count on for support. The only way to combat drug charges is to do so with a solid defense strategy. An attorney can advise you what steps you need to take to do just that in your case.