Going to college can be a tremendous amount of fun. After all, while you are working on earning your degree, you have the opportunity to meet others and try new experiences. If you experiment with drugs, though, you may face criminal charges for possessing or even distributing a controlled substance.
College can be almost unbelievably unaffordable nowadays. In fact, according to U.S. News and World Report, the average cost of in-state tuition in the U.S. is nearly $11,000 per year. If you go to a private school, you may spend tens of thousands of dollars more. Thankfully, you no longer have to worry about losing your government-backed financial aid.
The past approach
In the past, the U.S. Department of Education suspended the government-guaranteed loans, grants and work-study funds for anyone with drug-related criminal convictions. This draconian policy stemmed from the war on drugs, which sought to stop Americans from using controlled substances.
A bright new day
For decades, criminal justice advocates and education professionals lobbied the DOE to change its harsh policy. The DOE finally agreed early last year, opting to stop considering drug convictions when making financial aid decisions. Therefore, it is likely a drug conviction will have no impact on your government-backed financial aid.
The news is not entirely good, unfortunately. While the DOE has changed the way it perceives drug convictions, the same may not be true for your college or private scholarship programs. That is, a drug conviction may continue to jeopardize the financial aid you receive from these organizations.
Ultimately, by presenting a competent and comprehensive defense to any drug charges you are currently facing, you may be able to keep your entire financial aid package intact.