A drug conviction can throw a wrench in your financial aid

There are certain criminal convictions that can damage your student financial aid. For example, a drug charge can seriously cost you when it comes to applying for federal loans to pay for tuition. Such a conviction can completely derail your academic career, especially if your university suspends you in addition to federal lenders denying your loan applications.

If a court in the Florence area has charged you with a drug crime and you are a student, your school year could be at risk if you receive a conviction. To find out more about how a drug conviction affects student aid, read further.

Timing

Like with many things in life, the timing of a drug possession charge matters in terms of financial aid. For example, if the police charge you with drug possession before you begin receiving financial aid, then the conviction will not count against your eligibility to receive funds. However, if you were already receiving aid at the time of the charge, a resulting conviction will make you ineligible.

Three strikes

Prior to 2009, a drug conviction could cost a student his or her federal student aid eligibility indefinitely. Now, though, there is an unofficial "three strike" rule. In general, the rule works in such a way that a first drug possession offense will result in one year of ineligibility, a second offense will cost you two years, and a third offense will cost you your eligibility indefinitely. More serious offenses, such as selling or trafficking, tend to have much more severe consequences.

Reinstatement

If you are a first or second offender, you might be able to regain your student aid eligibility early. In order to do this, you must complete an approved drug rehabilitation program. You also must submit to two random drug tests during the program.

If you are facing a drug charge, your financial aid could be at risk. With a strong defense, you can fight back against the charges and possibly stay on track with your college career.

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