Can your child lose financial aid because of a drug conviction?

You worked hard to send your child to school, but now your student is facing drug charges. You may have heard that students may become ineligible for financial aid in the wake of a drug conviction in addition to facing other penalties, but is it actually true?

Unfortunately, as of right now, a drug conviction does have the potential to lead to a loss of financial aid.

How drug convictions impact eligibility

If your son or daughter was already a recipient of financial aid when authorities charged him or her with something drug-related, your student may become ineligible for financial aid for a set period. Any type of drug conviction may lead to a loss of financial aid eligibility. However, the more serious the drug charge, the longer you stand to become ineligible.

How the Free Application for Federal Student Aid factors in

To get financial aid in the first place, your child must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. On this form is a question about whether your college student has ever received a drug conviction at a time when he or she was already a recipient of financial aid.

If your child answers yes to the question, he or she must complete another form that helps determine whether that drug conviction does, in fact, disqualify the student from receiving aid for a period.

How to regain eligibility

If your college student does end up becoming ineligible for aid, he or she may be able to regain eligibility by taking certain steps. Your child may be able to do so by successfully finishing an approved substance abuse treatment program. Conversely, he or she may be able to do so by passing two random drug tests provided by a substance abuse treatment program.

Once this happens, it is up to your child to let the financial aid office know that he or she did so in order to regain financial aid eligibility.