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Can a drug conviction impact financial aid eligibility?

By the time your college student heads off to school, you hope that you have instilled enough wisdom into your son or daughter that he or she avoids landing in serious trouble. College is, however, a time of experimentation for many students, but in some cases, that experimentation means the difference between being able to finance college and having no choice but to drop out.

If, for example, your college student begins experimenting with drugs and law enforcement officials catch him or her possessing, selling or otherwise breaking the law using illegal drugs, it can impact your student’s ability to receive financial aid.

What drug convictions count

Virtually any type of drug conviction can work against your college student in terms of his or her ability to receive federal financial aid. However, the primary deciding factor in whether your child loses financial aid access is the date when authorities placed your child under arrest. If the arrest occurred, say, at a homecoming game or fraternity party during a time your child was already a recipient of financial aid, you can bet on him or her losing financial aid eligibility for a set period.

If, however, your child’s drug arrest occurred during, say, a summer party at the lake, the arrest should not affect financial aid eligibility, unless your child was taking summer classes at the time and using financial aid to do so. While whether your child loses financial aid access depends on the timing of his or her arrest, how long he or she can expect to be ineligible for aid due to a drug conviction depends on several other factors. Offenders with existing criminal records can anticipate longer losses of financial aid eligibility than first-time offenders. You can also expect the severity of the drug crime to be a determining factor in how long your child loses financial aid access after a drug conviction.

While it is unrealistic to think that you can keep constantly close tabs on your college student, you may be able to steer him or her in the right direction simply by making your child aware of how much is at stake when it comes to experimenting with drugs.

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Sallee Law, LLC

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Indianapolis, IN 46204

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