Paving The Way To Justice

Cassandra Stamm
Paving The Way To Justice

Drug offenders can now keep their federal financial aid

On Behalf of | Jan 18, 2022 | Criminal Law

Obtaining a four-year degree is one of the more effective ways to succeed as a professional. Graduating from a college or university is also likely to increase your future earning potential. In fact, according to the Brookings Institute, the median lifetime income for those with bachelor’s degrees is about $1.28 million.

Even though going to college makes a great deal of sense, it also can be overwhelmingly expensive. Fortunately, the federal government provides billions of dollars each year to aspiring students who want to turn their educational dreams into reality.

An outdated policy

As part of the war on drugs, the U.S. Department of Education stopped financial aid for anyone who had a drug conviction. This policy seemed illogical to both criminal justice and education advocates, as others with more serious convictions remained eligible for federal loans, grants and work-study funds.

A bright new future

In early 2021, the DOE changed its approach to awarding government-backed financial aid to students with drug convictions. Now, having a drug conviction during your award period does not affect your federal financial aid. You still have an obligation to tell the DOE about your drug conviction when completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, nevertheless.

Other considerations

While your drug conviction is not likely to harm your eligibility for government-guaranteed financial aid, the news is not all rosy. Specifically, you remain vulnerable to academic consequences following a drug conviction. These may include suspension, expulsion or even the loss of your private scholarships.

When it comes to your future, there is a significant difference between an arrest and a conviction. Ultimately, exploring all possible defenses may help you minimize the potentially catastrophic toll a drug conviction takes on your future.