Financial Aid Policies

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Drug Conviction

Attention: Students convicted of possession or sale of drugs

A federal or state drug conviction can disqualify you for federal financial aid.

When you complete a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), you must indicate whether you have such a conviction. If the answer is “Yes," you may be subject to a period of ineligibility as required by law.

The Office of Student Financial Services will be notified on the processed FAFSA that you have reported a conviction. You cannot be awarded unless you are able to confirm that you have regained eligibility. You may call 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) to find out how, or if, this law applies to you.

Convictions only count if they were for an offense that occurred during a period of enrollment for which you were receiving Title IV federal aid (such as grants, loans, or work-study)—they do not count if the offense was not during such a period. Also, a conviction that was reversed, set aside, or removed from your record does not count, nor does one received when you were a juvenile, unless you were tried as an adult.

The chart below illustrates the period of ineligibility for FSA funds, depending on whether the conviction was for sale or possession and whether you had previous offenses. (A conviction for sale of drugs includes convictions for conspiring to sell drugs.)

Possession of Illegal DrugsSale of Illegal Drugs
First offense1 year from date of conviction2 years from date of conviction
Second offense2 years from date of convictionIndefinite period
Third+ offenseIndefinite period

If you were convicted of both possessing and selling illegal drugs, and the periods of ineligibility are different, you will be ineligible for the longer period.

You can regain eligibility the day after the period of ineligibility ends or when you successfully complete a qualified drug rehabilitation program. Further drug convictions will make you ineligible again.

Any student denied eligibility for an indefinite period can regain it only after:

  • You successfully completing a rehabilitation program as described below. It is your responsibility to certify to the school that you have done so.
  • If a conviction is reversed, set aside, or removed from your record so that fewer than two convictions for sale or three convictions for possession remain on the record. In such cases, the nature and dates of the remaining convictions will determine when you regain eligibility.

If you regain eligibility during a term, you may award federal aid for that term.

Standards for a qualified drug rehabilitation program

A qualified drug rehabilitation program must include at least two unannounced drug tests and must satisfy at least one of the following requirements:
  • Be qualified to receive funds directly or indirectly from a federal, state or local government program.
  • Be qualified to receive payment directly or indirectly from a federally or state-licensed insurance company.
  • Be administered or recognized by a federal, state, or local government agency or court.
  • Be administered or recognized by a federally or state-licensed hospital, health clinic or medical doctor.