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Students with criminal convictions have limited eligibility for federal student aid. You need to make sure you understand your status, and don’t assume you can’t get aid.

April 18, 2013

Yes, your eligibility may be suspended if the offense occurred while you were receiving federal student aid (grants, loans, or work-study). When you complete the FAFSA, you will be asked whether you had a drug conviction for an offense that occurred while you were receiving federal student aid. If the answer is yes, you will be provided a worksheet to help you determine whether your conviction affects your eligibility for federal student aid.

If your eligibility for federal student aid has been suspended due to a drug conviction, you can regain eligibility early by successfully completing an approved drug rehabilitation program or by passing two unannounced drug tests administered by an approved drug rehabilitation program. If you regain eligibility during the award year, notify your financial aid office immediately so you can get any aid you’re eligible for.

If you are convicted of a drug-related offense after you submit the FAFSA, you might lose eligibility for federal student aid, and you might be liable for returning any financial aid you received during a period of ineligibility.

Other convictions that can limit eligibility are: 

If you have been convicted of a forcible or nonforcible sexual offense and you are subject to an involuntary civil commitment upon completion of a period of incarceration for that offense, you cannot receive a Federal Pell Grant. 

Make sure you understand your status, and don’t assume you can’t get aid. 

 

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