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Drug Convictions and Federal Financial Aid

If you are convicted of a controlled substance-related offense while receiving federal financial aid, your aid eligibility will be impacted.

Financial Aid Penalties for Controlled Substance Convictions

Under the Higher Education Act, your federal aid may be affected if you are convicted of any offense under Federal or State law involving the possession or sale of a controlled substance while receiving Title IV federal financial aid. The financial aid penalties vary depending on the conviction as follows:

Possession of a controlled substance

  • First offense: Ineligible for one year
  • Second offense: Ineligible for two years
  • Third offense: Indefinite ineligibility

Sale of a controlled substance

  • First offense: Ineligible for two years
  • Second offense: indefinite ineligibility

Rehabilitation

Students whose federal aid eligibility has been suspended due to a controlled substance-related offense have the opportunity to regain eligibility before the end of their ineligibility period if one of the following is met:

  • The student completes a drug rehabilitation program that includes two unannounced drug tests and complies with additional criteria set forth by the Secretary of Education.
  • The student successfully passes two unannounced drug tests conducted by a drug rehabilitation program that complies with the Secretary of Education requirements.
  • The conviction is reversed, set aside, or otherwise rendered nugatory.