Federal Student Financial Aid Penalties for Drug Law Violations

A federal or state drug conviction can disqualify a student for Federal Student Aid funds. The chart below illustrates the period of ineligibility for federal funds if convicted of the offense during a period of enrollment for which the student was receiving Federal Student Aid.


Possession of a Controlled Substance

First Offense

Second Offense

Third Offense

Ineligibility Period

1 year

2 years

Indefinite

 

Sale of a Controlled Substance

First Offense

Second Offense

Ineligibility Period

2 years

Indefinite

 

Your eligibility might 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.