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Can a drug conviction make students ineligible for financial aid?

Your child worked hard to get into college, and financial aid may have helped make it possible. What happens, though, if your son or daughter does what many other college students do when they get to school and starts experimenting with drugs? If authorities catch your child with drugs and charge him or her with possession or another drug-related offense, it may impact his or her financial aid eligibility. 

Per Federal Student Aid, an office of the U.S. Department of Education, a New York drug conviction may make your college student become ineligible for financial aid for at least a year. Depending on circumstances, it may impact eligibility forever. 

Losing financial aid eligibility

To use financial aid, your child must complete a Federal Application for Student Aid form each year. The form asks if he or she received a conviction for a drug offense at any time in the past year while using financial aid. If the answer is yes, your child may lose financial aid eligibility for a year, two years or longer, depending on the severity of the drug offense, among other details. ‘ 

Regaining financial aid eligibility

If your child meets certain conditions, he or she may be able to regain eligibility for financial aid earlier than planned. To do so, your student has two options. The first option involves completing a drug rehabilitation program approved by the state of New York. The second option involves passing two random drug tests administered by a provider approved by the state. 

Many oppose the fact that college students may become ineligible for financial aid after a drug conviction. Many opponents argue that it creates unnecessary hurdles that make it harder for some to pursue higher education. However, the rule remains in place for the time being.