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Does a drug arrest cause you to lose financial aid?

On Behalf of | Jan 4, 2022 | Criminal Defense

If you are in college, you are undoubtedly enjoying your newfound freedom. While it is perfectly normal to engage in new activities during your late teens and early 20s, buying drugs may land you in handcuffs. A drug arrest may also lead to academic discipline from your university.

Drug arrests have never caused college students to lose their government-backed financial aid. If an arrest turned into a conviction, though, federal education officials used to suspend loans, grants and work-study funds immediately. Thankfully, this unfair and harsh policy no longer exists.

Federal financial aid and your drug conviction

After a policy change in early 2021, federal education officials no longer consider drug convictions when deciding to award financial aid. Now, if you have a drug conviction during your award period, you only must provide information about the conviction when you complete the Free Application for Federal Financial Aid. This information, though, does not affect your government-backed aid.

Private financial aid and your drug conviction

The private financial aid you receive may be an entirely different story, unfortunately. If you have a university or private scholarship, their program administers may use your drug conviction to revoke your financial assistance. You may also lose your ability to participate in extracurricular activities and student groups. To understand your risk, you should read through your college’s code of conduct for students.

Ultimately, while you can keep your federal financial aid after a drug arrest and conviction, defending yourself against criminal drug charges may help you minimize other academic consequences.