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Students with drug convictions no longer lose financial aid

On Behalf of | Dec 3, 2021 | Criminal Law |

If your child is about to graduate high school, you undoubtedly know how expensive a college education can be. In fact, according to Business Insider, the average cost of tuition at four-year state schools has risen by more than 8% in the last five years alone.

Fortunately, you may not have to go into debt to put your son or daughter through college, as the federal government offers subsidized financial aid to millions of eligible students annually. Until early 2021, though, students with certain drug convictions could not receive federal dollars.

A change in policy

After advocates argued for years for the U.S. Department of Education to change its policy, officials finally did. Now, if your child has a drug-related conviction, he or she no longer has to worry about losing government-subsidized loans, grants or work-study assistance.

A disclosure requirement

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid continues to inquire about criminal convictions. Because your child has a legal obligation to complete the FAFSA truthfully, he or she must disclose any drug-associated convictions on the FAFSA. Then, the aspiring college student in your family must provide additional information about his or her convictions on FAFSA attachment.

A cautionary note

While your child’s federal government-backed financial aid may remain intact following a drug-related conviction, private scholarships may be a different story. Moreover, your son or daughter may lose educational assistance from his or her college or university after officials learn about a drug conviction.

Even though a drug conviction may not render your child ineligible for federal educational assistance, he or she may end up with a criminal record. Ultimately, presenting a reasonable defense may help to minimize the consequences of a drug-associated conviction.