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How a drug conviction impacts your ability to receive student aid

A conviction for a drug offense can greatly impact your life. In addition to potentially being sent to jail if convicted of a drug charge, it can impede your ability to support yourself financially. When it comes to government programs, a drug conviction can adversely affect your ability to qualify for many of them, including federal student loans.

The Higher Education Act dictates that any student that is convicted of a drug-related offense automatically becomes ineligible for financial aid. Under this act, this would preclude a student from receiving such funding as federal Pell Grants, PLUS Loans, Stafford Loans, Perkins Loans, and Work Study programs.

Your ineligibility to receive this type of aid depends heavily on the crime you were convicted of and whether it was your first, second, third, or subsequent time committing it.

Those who are convicted of having been in possession of illicit drugs are restricted from borrowing or receiving federal financial aid for a year from the date their case came to a close. A second offense carries a two year restriction. A third or greater conviction has the potential to indefinitely restrict you from receiving aid.

If you were convicted of having sold drugs, the first offense carries with it a two year borrowing restriction. Being charged with a second offense or more has the potential to limit you from borrowing aid forever.

To qualify for federal financial aid once again after a drug conviction, you will have to be able to prove that you have successfully completed a drug rehabilitation program. The company that you complete that program with must be recognized by your local, state, or federal government licensing board. Also, in order to qualify for a reinstatement of aid, you must complete at least two random drug tests with this agency.

If you've been charged with a drug-related crime and are concerned about the consequences a conviction may have on your life, then you should discuss your legal case with a Van Nuys drug crimes attorney.

Source: University of Illinois at Urbana, "Drug conviction and your financial aid," accessed June 16, 2017

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