As you may know, the U.S. Department of Education used to play a key role in the war against drugs. Specifically, the DOE suspended the federal grants, loans and work-study funds for many college-aged students who had drug convictions during their award periods.
If you are facing drug charges, you are probably looking for a bit of good news. After all, if your charges lead to a conviction, you may be in store for a variety of legal penalties and life consequences. Losing your federal financial aid, though, should no longer worry you.
A new era
In early 2021, the DOE announced a significant change to the way it awards federal financial aid to students with drug convictions. The announcement signals a new era, as the DOE no longer considers drug convictions when determining eligibility for federal financial aid.
Even though losing your federal financial aid due to a drug conviction is no longer likely, the DOE continues to want to know about your criminal record. Therefore, if you have a drug conviction during your award period, you probably have a duty to reveal it on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
Your financial aid package
If your financial aid package includes scholarships from your university or private organizations, the DOE’s policy change may not affect your eligibility. That is, a drug conviction still may cause you to lose other types of non-federal financial aid.
According to the DOE, it is important to follow the FAFSA’s instructions carefully to ensure you can compete for federal financial aid. Ultimately, though, to keep from losing private financial assistance, you also may want to explore all possible defenses to any drug charges you are currently facing.