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Can a drug conviction cause you to lose financial aid?

On Behalf of | Apr 23, 2018 | Criminal Defense |

If you are the parent of a child attending Virginia Tech or another Virginia college or university, you may have concerns about how your child will behave without direct parental supervision. While many students who leave home for the first time experiment at some point or another over the course of their college careers, there are certain actions and behaviors that can land your college student in serious hot water.

Many drug convictions, for example, bring with them steep fines and potential time behind bars, and if your child receives a conviction for a drug-related offense, he or she may also face collateral consequences. Collateral consequences are repercussions relating to a crime that do not come directly from the court system, and one potential consequence for a college student’s drug conviction is ineligibility for financial aid.

Convictions that affect federal aid eligibility

College students who receive a conviction for possessing, selling or conspiring to sell drugs, regardless of whether at the state or federal level, may lose access to federal financial aid for a set period. Exactly how long your child will be ineligible from receiving financial aid depends on several factors, among them the type of conviction received and whether it was a first or subsequent offense.

Why it matters when the crime occurred

Whether your college student will lose financial aid eligibility because of a drug conviction also depends on exactly when he or she offended. To lose aid access, the crime must have occurred during a time your child was actively receiving financial aid. If, however, your child’s arrest took place over the summer and your child was not in school at that time, a conviction for the crime should not impact financial aid.

In some cases, students who lose financial aid access can regain it sooner by participating in qualifying substance abuse treatment programs.


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