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Drug convictions can impact student aid eligibility

As we have discussed on several occasions, being convicted of a drug charge has several consequences that can last a lifetime. People who want to attend an institute of higher learning might be surprised to learn that a drug conviction, or any criminal conviction, might affect their ability to obtain federal student financial aid. For this reason, you should fight against any criminal charges you are facing, especially if you plan on going to school.

If your conviction results in an incarceration period in a state or federal institution, you won't be able to get federal student loans or a Federal Pell Grant while you are incarcerated. There are other possibilities, such as a Federal Work-Study or a Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant; however, those aren't likely because of priority matters and logistical issues.

If you are close to your release date, you can apply for some programs if you plan on going to school when you are released. This leaves time for your application to be processed.

If you were sentence to probation or are on parole, you can usually receive federal student aid. You will need to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Even if you aren't eligible for federal aid, filling out the FAFSA can help the school to determine if you are eligible for any other forms of assistance.

In the case of a drug conviction, there are often limitations for eligibility even after you are released from custody. If you aren't eligible to receive federal aid, you might be able to complete a drug rehabilitation program and take drug tests to regain your eligibility for aid.

Source: Federal Student Aid, "Students with criminal convictions have limited eligibility for federal student aid," accessed April 28, 2016

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