If you have college-aged kids, you may understand how important government-backed financial aid can be. After all, the average cost of tuition and fees at four-year state schools in the U.S. is currently more than $10,000 per year.
The federal government doles out billions of dollars each year to college students who need financial help. In the past, a conviction for a drug-related criminal offense caused an immediate suspension of federal academic assistance. Thankfully, due to a change in early 2021, that is no longer true.
No bearing on financial aid eligibility
According to the instructions for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, applicants must answer questions about certain criminal convictions. Consequently, if your son or daughter has a conviction for a drug-related offense during the award period, he or she must disclose it.
The U.S. Department of Education does not consider drug convictions when deciding which students are eligible for government-backed loans, grants or work-study participation. Therefore, your child’s answers about drug crimes on the FAFSA should have no bearing on financial aid eligibility.
No automatic protection for other types of funds
The recent change in policy applies only to financial aid that comes from the federal government. If your child receives private scholarship dollars or financial assistance from his or her university, a drug-associated conviction still may be problematic. That is, if your child’s conviction violates the terms of private or university programs, he or she may lose that financial aid.
Ultimately, because one mistake should not ruin your child’s life, mounting a comprehensive defense may help your son or daughter minimize the academic consequences of a drug arrest.