Drug Convictions and Financial Aid Eligibility

Under the Higher Education Act, a student may become ineligible for federal student aid upon conviction of any offense involving the possession or sale of illegal drugs while receiving Title IV federal financial aid. Federal aid includes Federal Direct Loans, Federal PLUS Loans, Federal Graduate PLUS Loans, Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, Federal ACG Grants, Federal SMART Grants, Federal TEACH Grants, Federal Work Study, and Perkins Loans.

Penalties for Drug Convictions

Possession of Illegal Drugs:

  • First Offense: 1 year from the date of conviction
  • Second Offense: 2 years from the date of conviction
  • Third and Subsequent Offenses: Indefinite ineligibility from the date of conviction

Sale of Illegal Drugs:

  • First Offense: 2 years from the date of conviction
  • Second and Subsequent Offenses: Indefinite ineligibility from the date of conviction

How to Regain Eligibility

A student can regain eligibility for federal student aid funds by successfully completing a drug rehabilitation program. To be sufficient to reinstate financial aid eligibility, the program must:

  • Include at least 2 unannounced drug tests, AND
  • Be recognized as a Federal, State, or local government agency program.

Note: A student will regain eligibility on the date of successfully completing the program.

Standards for a qualified drug rehabilitation program

A qualified drug rehabilitation program must include at least two unannounced drug tests and must satisfy at least one of the following requirements:

  • Be qualified to receive funds directly or indirectly from a federal, state, or local government program.
  • Be qualified to receive payment directly or indirectly from a federally or state-licensed insurance company.
  • Be administered or recognized by a federal, state, or local government agency or court.
  • Be administered or recognized by a federally or state-licensed hospital, health clinic, or medical doctor.

***Students who have regained eligibility must submit a Drug Conviction Eligibility Worksheet to initiate processing of their financial aid.***