Many college students experiment with drugs. While using certain drugs recreationally may not seem like a big deal, getting caught can have far-reaching consequences.
While certain drug crime convictions carry penalties like fines and jail time, they can also affect your federal student loans.
What happens if you are convicted of a drug crime before completing the FAFSA?
If you are convicted of a drug crime before you have completed your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you will have to include the conviction on your application. It is possible that your eligibility for student loans will be suspended because of your conviction. You will be given a worksheet that will help you better understand whether you will still be eligible for federal student aid.
If you were convicted of possessing drugs before the age of 18 and you were not tried as an adult, the conviction will not affect your eligibility for student loans.
What if you are convicted after submitting the FAFSA?
If you submitted the FAFSA before being convicted of a drug crime, you may still lose eligibility. If you are already receiving financial aid, it is possible that you will lose it and be required to pay back any amount you received after your conviction.
If your eligibility is revoked, can you get it back?
It is possible to regain eligibility for federal aid after a drug conviction. The quickest way is to pass two random drug tests conducted by an approved rehabilitation facility or to complete a drug rehabilitation program. If you do not choose to complete one of these, you may have to wait until the next school year to be eligible again.
What to do if you are charged with a drug crime
Many students in Colorado depend on federal student loans to pay for college tuition. Losing that financial aid may not be an option. If you find yourself charged with a drug crime, the best way to protect yourself is to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
An attorney who has experience defending college students will understand that you need to protect your federal student loan eligibility and can help you find a solution that works toward achieving that goal.