Can You Keep Financial Aid After A Drug Conviction?

Feb 11 2022

If you are a college student who is facing criminal charges for possessing or distributing a controlled substance, there are many reasons to mount an aggressive defense. After all, in addition to serious legal consequences, you may encounter academic discipline. You may even lose your private scholarship dollars.

When you completed your Free Application for Federal Student Aid, you may have noticed how harshly the U.S. Department of Education used to view drug convictions. Specifically, prior to January 2021, the DOE suspended financial aid for anyone who had one. Thankfully, even if you eventually end up with a drug conviction, you are no longer at risk of losing your federal loans, grants and work-study funds.

Your financial aid dollars

To ensure you can compete for the roughly $120 billion in federal-government-backed financial aid the DOE doles out every year, you must file your FAFSA by the department’s strict deadline. According to, the next deadline is June 30, 2022.

Please note, though, each state has its own filing deadline with which you also must comply. This deadline may be earlier than its federal counterpart.

Your drug conviction

If you have never disclosed your drug conviction on the FAFSA, you may have an obligation to do so the next time you complete the form. Therefore, you should read the FAFSA’s instructions carefully. While you may have to submit additional information about your conviction, it should have no bearing on your eligibility for federal financial aid.

Knowing your federal educational funds are secure may allow you to breathe a sigh of relief. Ultimately, though, to ensure your drug charges do not needlessly interfere with other aspects of your life, it is critical both to explore all possible defenses and to understand all other legal options.

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