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What you need to know about drug convictions and financial aid

On Behalf of | Oct 10, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

Few things can interfere with anyone’s life more than facing criminal charges. Indeed, a drug conviction can come with prison time, hefty fines or both. Fortunately, you can get your life back on track by pursuing a bachelor’s degree.

According to the College Foundation of North Carolina, the average cost of college tuition per semester is roughly $3,500 in the Tar Heel State. If you want to go to certain schools, you can plan to spend thousands of dollars more. Fortunately, even if you have a drug conviction in your past, you can apply for government-backed financial aid.

The policy recently changed

You may have heard that a drug conviction used to make it difficult for a person to compete for federal loans, grants and work-study funds. Thankfully, this harsh policy recently changed. In fact, your drug conviction should have zero effect on your ability to apply for or receive government-guaranteed money.

You still have to disclose your conviction

To compete for federal financial aid, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid by your school’s published deadline. Unfortunately, the FAFSA asks about criminal convictions, including your drug conviction. It is important to provide honest and complete answers to questions about your criminal past.

You may have to do additional work

It is not uncommon for individuals with drug convictions to have to complete supplemental FAFSA questionnaires. These questionnaires simply ask for additional details about your drug conviction. Ultimately, though, because you are not at risk of losing your eligibility for financial aid, you probably should not worry about providing these details.

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