Notice of Federal Student Financial Aid Penalties for Drug Law Violations
In accordance with federal regulations, the Office of Student Financial Assistance is required to inform you of the potential consequences that a drug conviction could have on their eligibility for federal student aid.
A federal or state drug conviction can disqualify a student for Title IV financial aid funds. A conviction will only disqualify a student for funding if the offense occurred during a period of enrollment for which the student was receiving Title IV aid. In addition, convictions that are reversed, set aside, or removed from a student's record do not count, nor does any conviction received while the student was a juvenile, unless they were tried as an adult.
If a student has been convicted of selling or possessing illegal drugs as previously described, they cannot be awarded Title IV aid. The chart below illustrates the period of ineligibility for federal financial aid programs. Please note that eligibility is dependent upon the nature of the conviction and the number of prior offenses.
|Possession of Illegal Drugs||Sale of Illegal Drugs|
|First Offense||1 year from date of conviction||2 years from date of conviction|
|Second Offense||2 years from date of conviction||Indefinite Period|
|Third or More Offenses||Indefinite Period||Indefinite Period|
Pursuant to federal law, a conviction for the sale of drugs includes convictions for conspiring to sell drugs. Moreover, those students convicted of both selling and possessing illegal drugs will be subject to ineligibility for the longer period as prescribed under the circumstances.
If a student is convicted of a drug offense after receiving federal aid, the student must notify the Office of Student Financial Assistance immediately. That student will cease to be eligible for further financial aid and will be required to self-certify their eligibility for federal aid with regard to drug convictions by answering item number 23 on the FAFSA.
The FAFSA includes a question that asks, “Have you been convicted for the possession or sale of illegal drugs for an offense that occurred while you were receiving federal student aid.” Students must answer this question. If the answer is “yes” to this question, the student will be provided with an additional worksheet to determine if they are currently eligible for federal student aid. The worksheet for 2020-2021 is available at https://ifap.ed.gov/sites/default/files/attachments/2019-10/20202021StudentAidEligibilityWorkshtforQuestion23EN.pdf.
A student regains eligibility the day after the period of ineligibility ends or when the student successfully completes a qualified drug rehabilitation program. Further drug convictions will make the student ineligible again for federal financial aid programs.
Students denied eligibility for an indefinite period can regain it only after successfully completing a rehabilitation program as described below. Furthermore, eligibility can be regained if a conviction is reversed, set aside, or removed from the student’s record so that fewer than two convictions for the sale or three convictions for the possession of illegal drugs remain on the student’s record. In such cases, the nature and dates of the remaining convictions will determine when the student regains eligibility.
It is the student's responsibility to certify to the Office of Student Financial Assistance the date of the conviction and if (s)he has completed a qualified drug rehabilitation program.
For purposes of financial aid eligibility, 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.
For more information regarding illegal drug convictions and financial aid eligibility, please visit the Frequently Asked Question section of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) website at fafsa.ed.gov.