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Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships

Division of Student Life and Enrollment

Students convicted of a federal or state offense of selling or possessing illegal drugs may not be eligible for federal student aid (grants, loans, and work-study).

Students who answer "Yes" to question 23 on the FAFSA will be required to answer additional questions on the FAFSA to determine if the conviction affects eligibility for aid. Also, if the Financial Aid Office is notified that a student has been convicted of possession or sale of illegal drugs during the academic year, all federal student aid will be suspended immediately.

Convictions only count if they were for an offense that occurred during a period of enrollment for which the student was receiving federal student aid, unless the student was denied federal benefits for drug trafficking by a federal or state judge. Also, a conviction that was reversed, set aside, or removed from the student's record does not count, nor does one received when the student was a juvenile, unless the student was tried as an adult.

The chart below illustrates the period of ineligibility for federal student aid funds, depending on whether the conviction was for sale or possession and whether the student had previous offenses. (A conviction for sale of drugs includes convictions for conspiring to sell drugs.)

Offense

Possession of Illegal Drugs

Sale of Illegal Drugs

1st Offense

1 year from date of conviction

2 years from date of conviction

2nd Offense

2 years from date of conviction

Indefinite period

3+ Offenses

Indefinite period

 

Students regain eligibility the day after the period of ineligibility ends or when they successfully complete a qualified drug rehabilitation program that includes passing two unannounced drug tests given by such a program. Further drug convictions will make the student ineligible again.

Students denied eligibility for an indefinite period can regain eligibility after completing any of the following options:

  • Successfully completing a rehabilitation program; or
  • Having the conviction reversed, set aside, or removed for the student's record so that fewer than two convictions for sale or three convictions for possession remain on the record; or
  • Successfully completing two unannounced drug tests which are part of a rehab program

In such cases, the nature and dates of the remaining convictions will determine when the student regains eligibility.

It is the student's responsibility to certify to the Financial Aid Office the date of the conviction and if (s)he has completed a drug rehabilitation program.

Student Aid Eligibility Worksheet for Question 23 from FAFSA application.

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