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How Drug Convictions Affect Financial Aid

October 15, 2018 | Written by Dan Margolis

If you were convicted of a drug offense in Ohio, you might have heard this can impact your financial aid. In reality, this will largely depend on the facts of your situation. If you have questions about paying for college after a drug conviction, contact The Law Office of Daniel M. Margolis, LLC. After a thorough review of your situation, an experienced attorney can advise you of your rights and financial aid options.

Contact The Law Office of Daniel M. Margolis, LLC at (216) 533-9533 or submit a request online.

Drug Convictions Can Impact Your Financial Aid Eligibility

According to the U.S. Department of Education, certain criminal convictions can limit your eligibility for federal student aid. Here is how it works:

Aid when you are incarcerated

While serving a sentence in a federal or state institution, you cannot obtain a Federal Pell Grant or get federal student loans. There is the possibility of Federal Work Study and the Federal Supplement Educational Opportunity Grant; however, it is difficult to obtain while incarcerated.

If you are incarcerated somewhere other than a federal or state institution, you still cannot get federal student loans, but you may apply for the Pell Grant, Federal Work-Study, and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant.

Probation and parole do not affect aid

Being on probation or parole, or living in a halfway house, does not prohibit you from receiving financial aid. However, the type of offense that led to your current punishment, such as a drug or sex offense, could make you ineligible.

Aid after being convicted of a drug offense

In certain situations, a drug offense can limit your eligibility for federal financial aid. For instance, your conviction must be for a drug offense that occurred while you were receiving federal financial aid, like as student loans, grants, or work-study. If your drug offense occurred when you were not in school, or you were not receiving any federal financial aid at the time, then your eligibility is not reduced.

You may wonder how the federal government will know about your conviction. Simply put, you are required to tell them. When you fill out your Federal Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you will be asked if you have had a drug conviction for a crime that occurred while you were receiving any federal student aid. You must answer honestly and mark “yes,” if that is true.

If you have been convicted of a drug offense, do not assume you cannot get any financial aid. If your conviction was removed from your record or you were a juvenile when the offense occurred (unless you were tried in the adult criminal court system), then it also does not count against you. And again, if you were not receiving federal financial aid at the time of the offense, it does not limit your eligibility.

Also, even if you cannot obtain federal financial aid, you should complete your FAFSA. Do not assume you cannot get financial help to attend college. You may still be eligible for financial aid from the state, your school, or private scholarships.

Reviving your financial aid eligibility

In some scenarios, you can get your federal student aid back after a drug conviction. You need to either:

  • Complete an approved drug rehabilitation program, or
  • Pass two random drug tests administered by an approved drug rehabilitation program.

If you are still in school when you complete one of these requirements, you can work with your university or college’s financial aid office to restore your eligibility and obtain loans or grants for the current or next class period.

Additionally, you may be able to restore your eligibility if your conviction is reversed, set aside, or invalidated.

An Attorney is Here to Help

If you are unsure about your right to financial aid after a conviction or you believe you are wrongly being denied federal financial aid, contact The Law Office of Daniel M. Margolis, LLC as soon as you can. Your education should not be put on hold because of a drug offense. It is essential that you return to the classroom as soon as you can.

Contact us today at (216) 533-9533 or use the online contact form to schedule a consultation.

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