Drug Convictions and Eligibility for Federal Student Aid

on February 8, 2017

Students who have been convicted of the sale or possession of illegal drugs while receiving federal student aid can have their eligibility for federal student financial aid suspended for a period of time.
 

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) asks a question about drug convictions to determine whether the student needs to complete a worksheet to determine whether their eligibility for federal student aid is affected.

 

Requirements for Suspension of Financial Aid Eligibility

 

There are two main components to the rule concerning drug convictions:

  • The student must have been convicted of the sale or possession of illegal drugs. If the conviction has been reversed or set aside, the student remains eligible for federal student aid and should answer “no” to the drug conviction question on the FAFSA. Likewise, if the conviction occurred while the student was a minor and the student was not tried as an adult, the student remains eligible for federal student aid.
     
  • The sale or possession of illegal drugs must have occurred while the student was receiving federal student aid. If the conviction did not occur when the student was enrolled in college and receiving federal student aid, the student remains eligible for federal student aid and should answer “no” to the drug conviction question on the FAFSA. Students who have never attended college since high school will not be asked the drug conviction question.

Suspension of Financial Aid Eligibility

 

The suspension of eligibility for federal student aid depends on the number of offenses and whether the conviction was for sale or possession.

  • On a first offense, eligibility for federal student aid will be suspended for one year for possession and 2 years for sale.
     
  • On a second offense, eligibility for federal student aid will be suspended for two years for possession and indefinitely for sale.
     
  • On third and subsequent offenses, the suspension is for an indefinite period for both possession and sale.

Suspension of

Federal Student Aid Eligibility

First Offense

Second Offense

Third and

Subsequent

Offences

Sale of Illegal Drugs

Two year suspension

Indefinite suspension

Indefinite suspension

Possession of Illegal Drugs

One Year Suspension

Two Year Suspension

Indefinite suspension


The suspension starts from the date of conviction. Students who have had their eligibility suspended may have to repay all financial aid received since the date of conviction.

 

Regaining Financial Aid Eligibility

 

There are two methods students can use to regain eligibility before the end of the ineligibility period:

  • Students can regain eligibility by completing a qualified drug rehabilitation program
     
  • Students can regain eligibility by passing two unannounced drug tests given by a qualified drug rehabilitation program

Can I get Into...

We Know Your Chances. Do You?

What Are My Chances