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Drug Felonies and the FAFSA

Student Legal Services - ASUW

Drugs & FAFSA

That scary question 23 on the paper FAFSA reads:

 

"Have you been convicted for the possession or sale of illegal drugs for an offense that occurred while you were receiving federal student aid (grants, loans, and/ or work-study)?"

 

This is one question that CANNOT be left blank, if you leave it blank- you WILL NOT RECEIVE FEDERAL FINANCIAL AID!!!!!

The only time you can select NO to this question is if:

 

  • You have never had a conviction for possessing or selling illegal drugs
  • You do have a conviction but it was not for a violation of a state or federal law
  • You do have a conviction but it occurred before you were 18 years of age and you were not tried as an adult
  • You do have a conviction but it was removed from your record
  • Or the offense that led to your conviction did not occur during a period of enrollment for which you were receiving federal student aid (grants, loans, or work-study)

 

If you select YES, you might still be eligible for federal student aid.  Past convictions DO NOT automatically make you ineligible for student aid but if you select YES, there will be a series of additional questions to determine your eligibility. However if you are not eligible for Federal Student Aid, complete and submit the FAFSA anyway because you may still be eligible for state or school financial aid. For more information on drug-related convictions, call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243).

A student who has been convicted of possession or sale of illegal drugs loses eligibility for a period of time. The ineligibility period depends on whether the conviction was for possession or sale (including conspiracy to sell) illegal drugs.

 

The periods of ineligibility are:

Possession of Illegal Drugs-

  • One conviction: one year after the date of conviction
  • Two convictions: two years after the date of the second conviction
  • Three or more convictions: indefinite eligibility from the date of the third conviction

Sale of Illegal Drugs-

  • One conviction: two years after the date of conviction
  • Two or more convictions: indefinite from the date of the second conviction

Remember a federal or state drug conviction can DISQUALIFY a student from federal financial aid. Convictions only count if it was for an offense that occurred during a period of enrollment for which the student was receiving Title IV aid. If the offense was not during such a period, then it does not count. If the conviction was reversed, set aside, removed from the student's record, or received as a juvenile (unless student was tried as an adult), then it does not count!

 

If you lose federal financial aid, then what?

You regain eligibility the day after the ineligibility period ends or when you successfully complete a qualified drug rehabilitation program. Additional drug convictions will make you ineligible again. If you have been penalized with indefinite ineligibility, only with successful completion of a drug rehabilitation program will you regain eligibility. If you complete a drug program successfully, it is your responsibility to notify the school of the completion.

 

To qualify the student for eligibility, the drug rehabilitation program must include at least two unannounced drug tests, and:

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

 

 

Spring 2012 SLS extern Emily Thomas, a University of Wyoming Law student, wrote this section while under the supervision of Student Legal Services. 


 


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Julianne Gern

1000 E. University Ave

Knight Hall 128

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: (307) 766-3296

Email: sls@uwyo.edu

1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071
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