If you're facing drug charges, you may be worried about monetary fines or jail time. However, a drug conviction can affect your life in various other ways as well. One of the lesser-known consequences of a drug conviction is the possibility of losing your eligibility for federal financial aid for college. In some situations, you may also be responsible for having to pay back aid monies given to you during the time of the offense. Understanding how the drug conviction affects financial aid and what you may be able to do about it is an important part of forming a plan moving forward.
Federal financial aid includes grants, loans and money earned through work-study programs. If you were receiving federal financial aid during the time of the offense that resulted in the conviction, it's likely that your eligibility will be suspended. If this happens in the middle of the semester, you may have to pay back the portion that has already been disbursed to you. However, even if you are deemed ineligible for federal financial aid due to a drug conviction, you may have some options.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, students who successfully complete a drug rehabilitation program can ask that their eligibility be reinstated. Another option is to pass two random drug tests administered by an approved agency. Once you have completed a rehab program or passed the required drug tests, the next step is to talk to your school's financial aid office.
Of course, the best case scenario is that drug charges do not turn into a drug conviction. There are many different criminal defense options and strategies that your attorney may be able to use to help you present your best case. Talking with an attorney experienced in dealing with state and federal drug charges is the first step.