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Student financial aid eligibility may be hurt by drug conviction

For over 50 years, federal student aid programs have helped Johnson County residents reach for their dreams through post-secondary education. Without the loan and grant programs available through federal financial aid, college could be out of reach for many. But as many already know, federal financial aid options may be curtailed for those convicted of drug-related offenses. Let's review how a drug-related conviction could interfere with the process of getting student aid.

If a student gets a drug-related conviction while receiving student aid, eligibility may be impacted for receiving aid in subsequent school years. As most students already know, in order to get federal student aid, a student must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form. The FAFSA form contains a question asking whether the student has had a drug conviction for an offense committed while receiving federal student aid.

What happens if the answer is "yes?" In that case, the student must complete a worksheet to determine whether the conviction affects their eligibility for federal student aid. Depending on results of the worksheet, the student may not be eligible for student financial aid for a certain period. In this case, the student may be able to regain eligibility sooner by successfully completing an approved drug rehabilitation program.

What happens if a student is convicted of a drug-related offense after completing the FAFSA? The student may lose eligibility for financial aid, and they may even be required to return financial aid received while ineligible.

Given these serious consequences, a student accused of a drug-related offense may choose to enlist the services of a criminal defense attorney to help maximize their options. Drug diversion programs or acquittal at trial are two of the positive outcomes a student could aim for.

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