Obtaining a bachelor’s degree is one of the more effective ways to increase your earning potential. After all, on average, individuals who finish four-year programs earn more than $400,000 over their lifetimes than those with only high school diplomas.
Because college can be expensive, aspiring students often secure government-backed grants, loans and work-study dollars to pay tuition, fees and other academic expenses. Until recently, a drug-related conviction caused an immediate suspension of federal financial aid. Happily, that is no longer true.
A change in policy
Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid is necessary to determine your eligibility for government assistance. While the FAFSA continues to inquire about drug-related convictions, admitting to one does not trigger a suspension of federal educational funds.
Still, if you answer the question affirmatively, you must complete an additional worksheet. It is important to be truthful when doing so, of course, as providing false information may cause you to face additional consequences.
Some inherent risk
Your federal financial aid package may only be part of your college budget. If you have private scholarships or receive financial aid from your school, having a drug-associated conviction probably carries some inherent risk. That is, your conviction may violate an applicable code of conduct, which may cause you to lose your private financial aid.
If you are facing criminal charges for possessing or selling a controlled substance, you probably want to review the rules of both your university and private scholarship programs. Ultimately, preparing a smart defense or negotiating an acceptable plea may keep you from losing the financial aid you need to turn your educational dreams into reality.