Protecting Your Rights,
Reputation And Future

Paying for college may be difficult with a drug conviction

| Nov 21, 2020 | Criminal Defense |

Even if you attend a public institution, obtaining a four-year degree in California is not an inexpensive endeavor. After all, the average cost for in-state tuition in the Golden State is roughly $14,300 per year. If you are not from California, though, you probably pay considerably more.

Federally backed grants, loans and work-study funds may be available to help you fund your college education. If you have certain drug convictions on your criminal record, however, you may face a suspension of your financial assistance.

Your disclosure obligation

You typically do not have to disclose drug convictions that occur when you are not receiving federal student aid. Otherwise, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid asks you to complete a worksheet about the drug offense. Specifically, the FAFSA inquires as to whether the conviction was for possessing or distributing a controlled substance.

A possible suspension

A conviction for possessing or selling a controlled substance may result in an immediate suspension of the federal student aid you receive. The length of the suspension depends on a few factors, including the nature of the incident and the number of offenses

Indefinite suspensions are possible for charges relating to the sale or possession of a controlled substance. First-time possession offenses typically trigger just a single-year suspension, however.

A reinstatement path

To become eligible again for federal student aid, you may wait until the suspension period lapses. Alternatively, you may typically shorten the length of a suspension by completing an approved rehabilitation program.

If you do not want to go that route, you may be eligible for reinstatement after passing two unannounced drug tests. Nevertheless, until you achieve reinstatement you may have to repay any student aid you receive during your suspension.