Students convicted of a federal or state offense of selling or possessing illegal drugs may not be eligible for federal student aid (grants, loans, and work-study). Students who answer “Yes” to question 31 on the FAFSA will be sent a worksheet by the federal processing center to determine if the conviction affects eligibility for aid. Also, if the Financial Aid Office is notified that a student has been convicted of possession or sale of illegal drugs during the academic year, all federal student aid will be suspended immediately.
Convictions only count if they were for an offense that occurred during a period of enrollment for which the student was receiving federal student aid. Also, a conviction that was reversed, set aside, or removed from the student’s record does not count.
The chart below illustrates the period of ineligibility for federal student aid funds, depending on whether the conviction was for sale or possession and whether the student had previous offenses. (A conviction for sale of drugs includes convictions for conspiring to sell drugs.)
Possession of illegal drugs Sale of illegal drugs
1st offense 1 year from date of conviction 2 years from date of conviction
2nd offense 2 years from date of conviction Indefinite period
3+ offenses Indefinite period
Students regain eligibility the day after the period of ineligibility ends or when they successfully complete a qualified drug rehabilitation program. Further drug convictions will make them ineligible again. Students denied eligibility for an indefinite period can regain it only after successfully completing a rehabilitation program or if a conviction is reversed, set aside, or removed from the student’s record so that fewer than two convictions for sale or three convictions for possession remain on the record. In such cases, the nature and dates of the remaining convictions will determine when the student regains eligibility.
It is the student’s responsibility to certify to the Financial Aid Office the date of the conviction and if (s)he has completed a drug rehabilitation program.