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Drug Convictions

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 Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Opportunity Grants, Federal Direct Student Loans, Federal Direct PLUS loans, Federal Perkins Loans and Federal Work Study.

Financial Aid Penalties for Drug Convictions:

Possession of Illegal Drugs:

  • First Offense: Loss of aid eligibility for 1 year from the date of the conviction

  • Second Offense: Loss of aid eligibility for 2 years from the date of conviction

  • Third and Subsequent Offenses: Indefinite ineligibility from the date of conviction

Sale of Illegal Drugs:

  • First Offense: Loss of aid eligibility for 2 years from the date of conviction

  • Second and Subsequent Offenses: Indefinite ineligibility from the date of conviction

How to Regain Eligibility for Federal Financial Aid after a Drug Conviction:

There is a way that you can regain eligibility for the federal programs. You must successfully complete an acceptable drug rehabilitation program that meets the standards set by Congress and the Department of Education. You will regain eligibility on the date you complete the program or the day after the period of ineligibility ends. Submit documents to verify your successful completion of an acceptable drug rehabilitation program to the Office of Student Financial Aid.

What is an Acceptable Drug Rehabilitation Program?

An acceptable drug rehabilitation program must require passing TWO unannounced drug tests AND it must either:

  • Be qualified to receive funds from a federal, state or local government agency or program, or from a state or federally licensed insurance company, OR

  • Be administered or recognized by a federal, state or local government agency or court, or by a state or federally licensed hospital, health clinic or medical doctor.


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