If you are a current college student, you likely rely on some amount of student loans or scholarships to help you pay for your education. After an arrest for a drug crime, you may wonder how this mistake could affect your eligibility for student aid.
The impact of a drug charge on your educational financing options will depend on what type of aid you are seeking.
Federal student aid
Though this was not always the case, a drug conviction will no longer prevent you from receiving federal student aid. However, you will still need to report the conviction on your next Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
You are not eligible for federal loans during any period of incarceration associated with the crime. You can apply while serving your sentence to ensure your application processes in time for your release. You are typically eligible if you are on probation or parole.
Other loans and scholarships
Lenders and organizations that offer private student aid may award loans and scholarships at their own discretion. Some providers will allow certain criminal offenses, while others may not. You will need to be honest on any private aid applications as lying could lead the provider to revoke your student aid.
Though you are still eligible for federal student aid after a drug conviction, there are other consequences that can have life-long effects on your career and earning potential. You may face expulsion from school or difficulty finding a job. A strong case is necessary to avoid a conviction and these serious outcomes.