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How can drug conviction impact student aid eligibility?

Going to a high education institution is the dream of many in Iowa and elsewhere. Whether one decided to go to college immediately following high school or they decide to wait a few years, the cost of college is always an issue. For most students, financial aid is the only way one can afford a degree. However, those facing criminal charges, such as a drug charge, could have this benefit limited, especially if he or she is convicted.

How can drug conviction impact student aid eligibility? Those facing the penalties for a drug charge could also face consequences when it comes to funding their education. According to the Office of the U.S. Department of Education, those currently incarcerated in a federal or state institution are unable to obtain Federal Pell Grant of federal student loans. However, they are able to get Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant and Federal Work-Study.

Unfortunately, one most likely won't get these because of priority given to those who are also receiving a Federal Pell Grant and the logistical difficulties incarceration causes for performing work-study programs. For those incarcerated in other institutions, the above information applies; however, they can obtain a Federal Pell Grant.

Once these individuals are released from incarceration, these limitations will be removed if he or she was not convicted of a crime that poses limitations after release. If a drug conviction has caused ineligibility for federal student aid, an offender is able to complete a drug rehabilitation program. Once successfully completed and two unannounced drug tests are passed, he or she can regain their ability to obtain federal student aid.

Because drug charges can impact the accused in more ways than one can imagine, it is important to consider defense options. Having your personal and educational life penalized by a drug charge is something one does not expect. Therefore, initiating a strong defense could help a defendant avoid these penalties by reducing or dismissing the charges against them.

Source: Studentaid.ed.gov, "Students With Criminal Convictions," accessed Feb. 3, 2018

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