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Loss of Federal Aid and Loans Possible for Drug Possession or Sale

charlieschmcharlieschm Posts: 4,282Registered User Senior Member
Many people are aware that a college student can lose their federal financial aid if they are convicted of sale of illegal drugs. I just wanted to warn everyone that the same loss for a year or two or three can occur (including federally subsidized loans) for a drug possession conviction. Some states also make these persons ineligible for state college grants.

As another person noted, you can still get aid if you commit murder, just don't get convicted of having a joint.

Here's a quote from the US Dept. of Education website:

"The Higher Education Act of 1965 as amended (HEA) suspends aid eligibility for students who have been convicted under federal or state law of the sale or possession of drugs, if the offense occurred during a period of enrollment for which the student was receiving federal student aid (grants, loans, and/or work-study). If you have a conviction(s) for these offenses, call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) or go to the FAFSA on the WebSM site, click on "Before Beginning A FAFSA" in the left column, then click on "Student Aid Eligibility Worksheet" to find out how this law applies to you.

If you have lost federal student aid eligibility due to a drug conviction, you can regain eligibility if you pass two unannounced drug tests conducted by a drug rehabilitation program that complies with criteria established by the U.S. Department of Education.

Civil Commitment for Sexual Offenses - A student subject to an involuntary civil commitment after completing a period of incarceration for a forcible or nonforcible sexual offense is ineligible to receive a Federal Pell grant.

Even if you are ineligible for federal aid, you should complete the FAFSA because you may be eligible for nonfederal aid from states and private institutions. If you regain eligibility during the award year, notify your financial aid administrator immediately. If you are convicted of a drug-related offense after you submit the FAFSA, you might lose eligibility for federal student aid, and you might be liable for returning any financial aid you received during a period of ineligibility."
Post edited by charlieschm on

Replies to: Loss of Federal Aid and Loans Possible for Drug Possession or Sale

  • charlieschmcharlieschm Posts: 4,282Registered User Senior Member
    Here's more details from the Reed College website:

    "Federal regulations state that a drug conviction can disqualify a student for federal financial aid. Some state grant programs have adopted these regulations as well. A conviction that was reversed, set aside, or removed from the student's record does not count, nor does one received when the student was a juvenile unless the student was tried as an adult.If the conduct leading to the conviction occurs during a period of enrollment for which the student is receiving Title IV grants, loans, or work assistance, the student loses eligibility for a specified period of time. If the conduct leading to the conviction does not occur while the student is receiving Title IV aid, a conviction has no effect on the student's future eligibility for aid.

    For possession of illegal drugs, a student is ineligible following the date of conviction for:

    •One year for a first offense
    •Two years for a second offense
    •An indefinite period for three or more offenses
    For sale of illegal drugs, a student is ineligible following the date of conviction for:

    •Two years for a first offense
    •An indefinite time for a second offense
    If a student is convicted of both possessing and selling illegal drugs, and the periods of ineligibility are different, the student will be ineligible for the longer period.

    If a student successfully completes a qualified drug rehabilitation program, the student regains eligibility on the date of completion; however, further drug convictions will make the student ineligible again."
  • Iron MaidenIron Maiden Posts: 1,838Registered User Senior Member
    I don't have a problem with any of this.
  • charlieschmcharlieschm Posts: 4,282Registered User Senior Member
    I have no problem with cutting off aid to drug dealers. But it is draconian to cut off all aid and loans to a college student who is caught with a joint. The regulation should be tied to a felony conviction of any type, and shouldn't be directed against victimless misdemeanors.
  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse Posts: 24,330Registered User Senior Member
    What is terrible is that so many kids don't know this. They see college as a pot den where short of walking down the street with a joint, it's acceptable. My oldest had a difficult time understanding that underage drinking, pot and a whole lot of other activities that were the norm in college town could get you jail time elsewhere. The cops where he went to school took pains to keep a blind eye when it came to misbehaving students. Not so around here. Several of his friends did lose financial aid due to drug convictions.

    However, in some townships around here, possession of an amount of marijuana deemed as personal use will get you a "traffic" ticket, not a misdemeanor at all. So there are inconsistencies all around. Also something I don't know is whether the conviction has to be in the federal courts. There are very harsh federal laws when it comes to drug dealing with mandatory drug sentencing and the evidence does not have to be direct or strong. If you get caught in a federal drug bust you are likely to do hard time for a while with no early release. For local busts, kids are out with no criminal record as many of the cases get plea bargained.
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