Drug Convictions & Financial Aid Eligbility


Loss of Eligibility

According to federal regulations, students convicted of a drug offense that occurred during a period of enrollment while they were receiving Title IV Federal Financial Aid may lose eligibility for Federal Aid.

Federal Aid includes:

  • Federal Pell and SEOG Grants
  • Federal Work Study
  • Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan
  • Federal Direct PLUS Loan

If a student answers ‘Yes’ to question 31 on the FAFSA, they will be sent a worksheet by the federal processing center in order to determine if the conviction affects eligibility for aid. Should the Financial Aid Office be notified that a student has been convicted of sale or possession of illegal drugs, the financial assistance will be suspended immediately.

If a conviction was reversed, set aside, or removed from the student’s record it does not count. Convictions occurring during periods of non-enrollment do not count. In addition, any conviction received as a juvenile does not count, unless the student was tried as an adult.

The period of ineligibility is dependent upon the type of conviction (sale or possession) and if there were previous offenses.

Possession of Illegal Drugs

1st Offense – 1 year from date of conviction
2nd Offense – 2 years from date of conviction
3rd Offense – Indefinite period

Sale of Illegal Drugs

1st Offense – 2 years from date of conviction
2nd Offense – Indefinite period

If the student was convicted of both selling and possessing drugs they will be ineligible for the longer period.

Regaining Eligibility

The student may regain eligibility:

  • The day after the period of ineligibility ends,
  • When they successfully complete a qualified drug rehabilitation program or,
  • If the student passes two unannounced drug tests given by a qualified rehabilitation program

Additional drug convictions will make the student ineligible for federal aid again.

It is the student’s responsibility to certify to the school that they have successfully completed the rehabilitation program.

Students denied eligibility for an indefinite period can regain it after:

  • Successfully completing a rehabilitation program as described below,
  • Passing two unannounced drug tests from such a program, or
  • If a conviction is reversed, set aside, or removed from the student’s record so that fewer than two convictions for sale or three convictions for possession remain on the record. In such cases, the nature and dates of the remaining convictions determine when the student regains eligibility.

Qualified Drug Rehabilitation Program

A qualified drug rehabilitation program must include at least two unannounced drug tests and must satisfy at least one of the following requirements:

  • Be qualified to receive funds directly from a federal, state, or local government.
  • Be qualified to receive payment directly or indirectly from a federal or state-licensed insurance company.
  • Be administered or recognized by a federal, state, or local government agency or court.
  • Be administered or recognized by a federally or state-licensed hospital, health clinic, or medical doctor.