Effect of Drug Convictions on Student Aid

Convictions for possession or sale of controlled substances have consequences of potential jail/prison time, fines, probation/parole, and loss of driving privileges.  A consequence of which most are not aware is that college students who are convicted of these offenses face the loss of their federal financial student aid. 

Federal law provides that a student who is convicted of any offense under any federal or state law involving the possession or sale of a controlled substance for conduct that occurred during a period of enrollment in school where the student was receiving any grant, loan, or work assistance shall be ineligible for such assistance for a specified time period.  This applies to both misdemeanors and felonies. 

The following table sets forth the ineligibility periods:

Conviction for possession of controlled substanceDuration of ineligibility
First offense1 year
Second offense2 years
Third offenseIndefinite


Conviction for sale of a controlled substanceDuration of ineligibility
First offense2 years
Second offenseIndefinite 

It is possible for a student to have their eligibility reinstated before the specified time period if they meet the following criteria:
            a).  Satisfactorily completion of a drug rehabilitation program that:
                        1).  Complies with federal regulations
                        2).  Includes two unannounced drug tests which the student passes; or
            b).  Passing two unannounced drug tests administered by an approved drug rehabilitation                               program; or
            c).  The conviction is reversed, set aside, or otherwise rendered nugatory.