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Drug Conviction Policy

General Information

A federal or state conviction* for the sale or possession of drugs can disqualify a student from receiving financial aid if the offense occurred during a period of enrollment for which the student was receiving federal grants, loans, and/or work-study.

*This does not include convictions that were reversed, set aside, or removed from the student's record. Additionally, it does not include juvenile convictions, unless the student was tried as an adult.

For additional information, call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) or complete the Student Aid Eligibility Worksheet to find out how this law applies to you.

Period of Ineligibility for Financial Aid

The chart below illustrates the period of ineligibility for financial aid, depending on whether the conviction is for sale or possession of drugs and whether the student had previous offenses. (A conviction for sale of drugs includes convictions for conspiring to sell drugs.) If the student is convicted of both possessing and selling illegal drugs, and the periods of ineligibility are different, the student will be ineligible for the longer period.

  Possession of Illegal Drugs Sale of Illegal Drugs
First Offense 1 year from the date of conviction 2 years from the date of conviction
Second Offense 2 years from the date of conviction Indefinite ineligibility from the date of conviction
Third and Subsequent Offenses Indefinite ineligibility from the date of conviction Indefinite ineligibility from the date of conviction

How to Regain Financial Aid Eligibility

A student regains eligibility the day after the period of ineligibility ends or when they successfully complete a qualified drug rehabilitation program. Future drug convictions will make them ineligible again.

Students denied eligibility for an indefinite period can regain it only by:

  1. successfully completing a rehabilitation program, which includes passing two unannounced drug tests from the program. (It is the student's responsibility to certify that they have successfully completed the rehabilitation program.) OR
  2. having the conviction overturned or otherwise rendered invalid (In such cases, the nature and dates of the remaining convictions will determine when the student regains eligibility.) OR
  3. completing two unannounced drug tests which are part of an approved rehab program. (The student does not need to complete the rest of the program.)
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