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Financial Aid Consequences for Drug Law Violations

In general, if a student receives a federal or state drug conviction during a period of enrollment for which the student was receiving federal student aid, the student is not eligible for future federal student aid until a specified period of time has elapsed.
 
The following chart illustrates the period of ineligibility for federal student aid funds depending upon whether the conviction was for sale or possession and whether the student had previous offenses.

 

  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
3rd+ Offenses Indefinite Period Indefinite Period

 

If the student was convicted of both possessing and selling illegal drugs and the periods of ineligibility are different, the student will be ineligible for the longer period. 

The student regains eligibility the day after the period of ineligibility ends or when they successfully complete a qualified drug rehabilitation program that includes passing two unannounced drug tests given by
said program. Further drug convictions will make the student ineligible again.
 
Students denied eligibility for an indefinite period can regain eligibility after completing any of the following three (3) options:
 
  • Successfully completing a rehabilitation program, as described below, which includes passing two unannounced drug tests from such a program
  • Having the conviction 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
  • Successfully completing two unannounced drug tests which are part of a rehab program (the student does not need to complete the rest of the program). In such cases the nature and dates of the remaining convictions will determine when the student regains eligibility.

A qualified drug rehabilitation program must include at least two unannounced drug tests and satisfy at least one of the following requirements:
 
  • Be qualified to receive funds directly or indirectly from a federal, state, or local government program.
  • Be qualified to receive payment directly or indirectly from a federally or state-licensed insurance company.
  • Be administered or recognized by a federal, state, or local government agency or court.
  • Be administered or recognized by a federally or state-licensed hospital, health clinic, or medical doctor.

When the student has a reported drug conviction that meets the criteria above, the U.S. Department of Education Federal Student Aid Division will send the student a worksheet that will identify the requirements for the student to regain eligibility. When the student has regained eligibility, the student will update the Student Aid Report provided to them with the worksheet following the instructions provided.