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Do OWIs affect college scholarships?

College is a time of exploration. Plenty of students go out to parties and drink more than they should. However, after a party, it is paramount that no one who drank gets behind the wheel of a car. This could result in substantial injuries and property damage. One thing college students may not recognize is that an OWI can cause them to lose financial aid. 

An OWI conviction can seriously upend a person's life. The person may need to pay hefty fines and spend some time in jail. For college students, an OWI conviction can affect them for the rest of their lives. A loss of financial aid may make it so that the student can no longer attend college, provided the college does not have a policy for expelling students for OWI charges. Ultimately, it is not worth it to drink and drive with so much on the line. 

You can lose scholarships, grants and federal financial aid

When you are in a state or federal institution due to an OWI conviction, you will lose eligibility for federal student aid. Once you are out of jail, you will have limited eligibility. If you are on parole or probation, then you may still qualify for federal aid. When you go to re-apply for federal aid, you will need to fill out a FAFSA form, which will ask you whether you have any criminal convictions on your record. There will be separate paperwork for you to complete. From there, FAFSA will decide whether you qualify for aid. 

Many scholarships have provisions stating the person receiving the financial aid must adhere to certain rules. This almost certainly includes remaining on the right side of the law. You can try to protect your scholarship after OWI charges by undergoing an alcohol rehabilitation program. Your scholarship will also be up in the air if your school decides to suspend you. 

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