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Drug possession convictions no longer affect college funding

On Behalf of | Oct 4, 2021 | Criminal Defense

For many Pennsylvania families, college can be downright unaffordable. To help students pursue higher education, the federal government provides loans, grants and work-study funds to more than 13 million Americans every single year.

In the recent past, a conviction for possessing a controlled substance triggered an immediate suspension of government-backed financial aid. Fortunately, because of a change in policy, students no longer have to worry about losing their financial assistance after a drug-related conviction.

Completing your FAFSA

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid is the first step in gauging your eligibility for public financial assistance. The FAFSA has a question about drug-related convictions, which you must answer honestly. After doing so, you must complete an additional worksheet to further describe your conviction. The conviction should have no effect on your eligibility for government-backed financial aid, though.

Identifying other risks

Even though a drug conviction may not interfere with your federal student aid, the news is not all positive. After all, a drug-related conviction may cause you to face academic discipline, including suspension or expulsion. You may also lose private scholarships for possessing a controlled substance.

Protecting your future

The consequences of a drug conviction are not likely to end after you graduate from college, of course. Just as future employers may choose not to hire you, you may have difficulty obtaining a professional license.

To protect your future from the negative consequences of a drug conviction, it may be advisable to prepare an aggressive defense or negotiate a plea deal. Ultimately, though, if you are facing drug charges, you should understand your legal options.