Will a drug conviction cost me my financial aid?

On Behalf of | Feb 9, 2021 | Drug Crimes

In South Carolina, as in the rest of the United States, a drug conviction might cause you to lose your college financial aid. However, whether that applies to your situation is a tricky question. Each case is different, so avoid making assumptions without investigating the matter further and consulting an attorney.

Federal aid

The government provides federal financial aid to some college students. This aid is separate from the financial support colleges or private scholarship funds provide directly.

Drug crimes disqualify some people for this form of financial aid, but you might not know whether that applies to your situation. If your conviction is new and occurred while you were receiving federal aid, your drug-related crime likely makes you ineligible for federal assistance.

Exceptions and time limits

There are exceptions to drug conviction-related disqualifications. Here are some of them:

  • Offenses that did not occur while receiving federal financial aid
  • Offenses that occurred years before applying for federal financial aid

If neither exception applies to you, there’s still hope. You also might get an exception if you complete a drug rehabilitation program or test clean in two randomly announced drug tests. Additionally, if you get your conviction overturned, it will no longer affect your financial aid eligibility.

Private aid

Even if you’re confident that you are not eligible for federal financial aid, you should still fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form and contact your college’s financial aid office. Colleges might be able to help you cover your tuition. You can also apply for independent scholarships.

If a drug conviction is preventing you from finishing your education, you probably feel discouraged. You deserve to advance your education and build a promising future for yourself. To move forward with your education despite a drug conviction, you might benefit from contacting a lawyer with criminal defense experience.