Few things can derail a promising academic career faster than drug charges. After all, depending on the severity of your charges, a conviction may force you to spend time behind bars and pay steep fines. You are also likely to have a criminal record for the remainder of your life.
Until earlier this year, a conviction for a drug-related offense also caused you to be ineligible for government-backed loans, grants and work-study dollars. Pursuant to a change in policy, you no longer have to worry about losing your federal financial aid.
Your FAFSA answers do not affect eligibility
To qualify for federal financial aid, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This application continues to ask questions about drug convictions during your award period. It is critical for you to answer these questions truthfully, as you do not want to give false information on your FAFSA. Nevertheless, your answers do not affect your ability to compete for federal financial aid.
You have extra work to do
After disclosing a drug-related conviction on your FAFSA, you must prepare an additional worksheet. This worksheet gathers information about your conviction. Like with the main FAFSA, you must provide truthful and complete answers to avoid committing perjury. Nevertheless, it is not yet clear what government officials intend to do with the information you provide.
While a drug conviction may lead to academic discipline, college should not become unaffordable to you. Ultimately, though, if you have a reasonable defense to the drug charges you are facing, you may be able to avoid the legal and life consequences that often accompany a conviction.