How Do Drug Convictions Affect Financial Aid?

Recently, your college-aged child received drug charges. While navigating the legal fallout, you wonder how the encounter with North Carolina law enforcement affects your son or daughter’s financial aid.

U.S. News & World Report helps parents and college students understand how financial aid works for those with drug convictions. Help your child learn how to pay for college despite having a criminal record.

Timing FAFSA submission

Say that your child submitted the Free Application for Federal Student Aid before receiving drug charges. If so, she or he may no longer qualify for FAFSA funds. If your child received funding before the drug conviction, he or she may need to return the money for periods of ineligibility. Essentially, criminal charges only affect FAFSA recipients if they become convicted while receiving financial aid. Those on parole or probation may qualify for federal assistance.

Becoming eligible

Those convicted on drug charges and deemed ineligible for FAFSA funds may regain eligibility by completing an approved drug rehab program or passing unscheduled drug tests. Before re-qualifying, students must complete a one-year ineligibility period that starts on their conviction date. Additional convictions extend the period.

Exploring alternate funding options

FAFSA does not represent the only option for receiving student financial help. Those facing more serious drug charges may encounter tighter restrictions for student aid. Federal work-study and federal grants may offer more opportunities. Submitting a FAFSA even when applicants do not qualify for aid may help them secure nonfederal financial assistance. Educational and financial counselors may know of other funding sources.

Drug convictions do not end federal funding for college students. Help your child attend college at a reduced cost.

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