What criminal charges will impact LIFE Scholarship eligibility?

College is prohibitively expensive for many young people. They may not be able to work the kind of jobs that provide sufficient money to cover college tuition costs. Their parents may also not have enough expendable income to contribute substantially toward the cost of college. That could leave many gifted young people unable to further their own ambitions in life.

Thankfully, South Carolina's Commission on Higher Education has a scholarship program intended to help qualified students. The Legislative Incentive for Future Excellence (LIFE) Scholarship helps students at many different public and independent universities and colleges across the state. This program can help pay for a one-year program, a first associate's, two-year, baccalaureate or professional degree.

Students who qualify can receive tuition assistance for up to eight semesters, provided that they remain eligible for the LIFE Scholarship. Any scholarship recipients or potential applicants, as well as their parents, need to understand that certain criminal charges could quickly result in disqualification from the LIFE Scholarship program.

What criminal charges could mean a loss of LIFE Scholarship funds?

Unlike federal scholarship and school funding programs, which have strict zero-tolerance policies, the LIFE Scholarship program is relatively forgiving. Students can apply for and receive funding provided that they do not have a second or subsequent drug or alcohol conviction on their record in the last academic year.

In other words, students can move on from minor issues in the past and still qualify for the LIFE Scholarship later in life. However, this rule only applies to misdemeanor offenses. The LIFE Scholarship program has a zero-tolerance policy for any felony conviction.

Whether it is a drug offense or a theft crime, a felony offense conviction or guilty plea will mean loss of eligibility for LIFE Scholarship funds. That loss of eligibility is permanent, unlike drug and alcohol offense eligibility issues. Any felony conviction will prevent you from qualifying for the LIFE Scholarship in the future.

A robust criminal defense can protect your academic future

If you find yourself facing drug or alcohol charges as a current recipient of the LIFE Scholarship or any kind of felony charge, you need to plan for a strong criminal defense. Only pushing back against criminal charges can minimize the consequences of these charges on your life and protect your ability to stay in school.

A conviction will mean the loss of your LIFE Scholarship, as well as other issues. You may struggle to find employment or secure rental housing. Some colleges also revoke admission for students convicted of certain crimes. Don't let one mistake completely alter the course of your life. Young people facing legal trouble in South Carolina need to take action to protect themselves and their futures.

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