Drug Convictions & Financial Aid Eligibility
Under the Higher Education Act, students become ineligible for federal student aid upon conviction during any period of enrollment of any offense involving the possession or sale of illegal drugs. Federal aid includes Federal Direct Loans, Federal Direct PLUS or Graduate PLUS Loans, Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, Federal TEACH Grants and Federal Work Study. Question 31 on the FAFSA form asks if the student has ever been convicted of a drug related offense. Failure to answer the question will automatically disqualify the student from receiving Federal aid. Answering this question falsely, if discovered, could result in fines up to $20,000, imprisonment, or both.
Penalties for Drug Convictions
Possession of Illegal Drugs:
• First Offense: 1 year from the date of conviction
• Second Offense: 2 years from the date of conviction
• Third and Subsequent Offenses: Indefinite ineligibility from the date of conviction
Sale of Illegal Drugs:
• First Offense: 2 years from the date of conviction
• Second and Subsequent Offenses: Indefinite ineligibility from the date of conviction.
How to Regain Eligibility
If a student successfully completes a drug rehabilitation program, he or she can regain
eligibility for federal student aid funds as of the day the student successfully completes the
To be sufficient to reinstate financial aid eligibility, the program must:
• Include at least 2 unannounced drug tests
• Be recognized as a Federal, State, or local government agency program.
Convictions During Enrollment
According to the United States Department of Education, if a student is convicted of a drug
offense after receiving Federal aid, he or she must notify Financial Aid Services immediately
and that student will be ineligible for further aid and required to pay back all aid received after