If you are convicted of a drug-related crime while receiving Federal student aid, you will be ineligible to receive student aid for a specific period of time. This is governed by federal law 20 U.S.C. § 1091(r).
The period of financial aid ineligibility ranges from one year up to an indefinite suspension. A first time possession conviction will result in one year of financial aid ineligibility, a second conviction causes two years of aid suspension; and a third results in permanent financial aid ineligibility. If convicted on sale of a controlled substance, a first time conviction will result in two years of ineligibility, and any subsequent conviction would trigger an indefinite suspension. The period of suspension/ineligibility can be shortened if the conviction is overturned or if you complete an approved drug rehabilitation program. If you need help locating a rehabilitation program, check out: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/ondcp/recovery/fafsa.pdf
It is important to remember that these ineligibility periods only apply if you are convicted while receiving aid. You are considered to be receiving aid on the day that classes start for any term in which you have applied for and accepted Federal student aid. This does not include summer breaks (if you are not enrolled in classes and receiving aid), but it does include holiday breaks during the regular academic year.
If you are accused of a drug crime while you are a student, don’t panic. It doesn’t have to mean the end the of your higher education career. A knowledgeable attorney can help you navigate these complex waters and keep your future on course.
In Texas, you may be eligible for a type of probation called deferred adjudication. If you successfully complete this probation, you will not have a final conviction, and you won’t have to worry about losing your aid.
A drug conviction shouldn’t ruin your life! If you are wondering “will a drug conviction affect my financial aid?” you are not alone. If you are accused of a drug crime, call my office today at 512-278-0935 for Austin or 210-394-3833 for San Antonio. Our first priority will be defeating your charges all together. If that’s not possible we will make sure you have all the resources you need to get your not only your aid, but your life, back on track.