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Does a drunk driving conviction affect college financial aid?

On Behalf of | Jan 25, 2021 | Criminal Defense |

Even if you try not to drink and drive, you may eventually find yourself sitting beside the road after a night on the town. While there is nothing inherently wrong with enjoying booze with your buddies, an OWI conviction may lead to significant legal penalties.

As you may know, convictions for certain drug-related offenses often result in a suspension of government-backed student financial aid. Does a drunk driving conviction have the same effect?

The FAFSA does not ask about OWI convictions

To determine your eligibility for government educational loans, grants and work-study funds, you must prepare and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The FAFSA does not usually inquire about straightforward drunk driving arrests or convictions, though. Consequently, provided your OWI conviction does not involve drugs, you probably do not have to reveal it on your FAFSA.

Private scholarships may be a different matter

While a simple OWI conviction is not likely to affect your government-backed financial aid, the private scholarships you receive may be a different matter. To see if an OWI conviction may result in a suspension or termination of private scholarship funds, you must check with the scholarship program’s administrator.

Tuition may not be refundable

You should also refer to your college’s code of conduct and disciplinary procedures to determine how an OWI conviction may affect your ability to attend school. If the conviction results in your suspension or expulsion, the tuition you have already paid may not be refundable. That is, you may pay for education you cannot access.

Put simply, to receive the full benefit of your college tuition, you may need to defend yourself forcefully against OWI charges.