Can a drug conviction lead to a loss of financial aid?

If you are a parent of a Missouri college student, or a student who will soon attend college and needs financial aid, you may want to have an important talk with your child. While using, possessing or selling illegal drugs poses obvious risks and can result in substantial criminal penalties, your college student may also face collateral consequences for taking such actions.

Collateral consequences are repercussions your child may face relating to a drug conviction that, despite not being criminal in nature, can still have a serious impact on his or her future. As a college student, or a college-bound student, U.S. News & World Report notes that one such collateral consequence your son or daughter may face following a drug conviction is a loss of federal financial aid eligibility.

How long your college student will lose his or her ability to get financial aid varies based on details surrounding the crime, but most eligibility losses can last anywhere from one year to indefinitely. If your child receives a drug possession conviction, for example, he or she will typically lose financial aid eligibility for a shorter period than he or she would following a drug sales conviction. The length of the financial aid ineligibility period also depends on whether your college student is a first-time or repeat offender.

Arguably the biggest factor in determining whether your college student will lose his or her financial aid eligibility is the date the crime occurred. To lose financial aid, authorities must have arrested your son or daughter while he or she was actively receiving financial assistance, such as during the fall or spring semester. If the crime occurred over the summer, for example, it generally will not affect financial aid eligibility.

This information is educational in nature and not a substitute for legal advice.


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