Woody White Law PLLC
Phone 910-338-4900
Toll Free 866-677-8525

Can a drug conviction disqualify your child for financial aid?

If you are the parent of a North Carolina college student who is heading off to school in the fall, you are probably doing your best to steer your child in the right direction. Making sure your child makes sound decisions in your absence can dramatically improve your peace of mind once he or she leaves the nest. Additionally, it can also improve the chances that he or she will avoid getting into any trouble that could potentially impact financial aid.

If your child receives a conviction for a drug-related criminal charge, for example, this can potentially hinder his or her ability to continue to receive federal financial aid. Virtually any type of state or federal drug conviction can cause your child to lose financial aid, potentially leaving you on the hook to make up the difference.

Financial aid ineligibility terms vary by crime

Any number of different drug convictions, among them possession convictions, drug sales convictions or intent-to-sell convictions, can make your son or daughter ineligible for financial aid. However, the length of time your child will be ineligible varies alongside the type of crime and whether your child is a first-time offender.

More specifically, first-time offenders typically lose financial aid eligibility for shorter periods than repeat offenders, and those facing more serious drug-related crimes will also experience longer losses of eligibility. If your child receives a conviction for drug possession and it is his or her first one, he or she may lose financial aid access for a year. On a second possession offense, however, your child can lose financial aid eligibility for two years. Those convicted of drug possession for a third time, meanwhile, can lose access to federal aid indefinitely.

There is, however, some hope if authorities arrest your child on a drug charge this summer. Unless your child is placed under arrest at a time he or she is actually receiving federal aid, such as during the school year, a drug conviction should not affect financial aid eligibility.


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