Drug Conviction Consequences

A federal or state drug conviction can disqualify you from receiving financial aid.  

Convictions only count if they were for an offense that occurred during a period of enrollment for which you were receiving Title IV aid (federal grants, loans or work-study).

A conviction that was reversed, set aside or removed from your record does not affect Title IV aid eligibility. Also, a juvenile conviction does not affect Title IV aid eligibility, unless you were tried as an adult.

The information below illustrates the period of ineligibility for Title IV aid, depending on whether the conviction was for sale or possession and whether you had previous offenses. A conviction for sale of drugs includes convictions for conspiring to sell drugs.

  Possessing Illegal Drugs Sale of Illegal Drugs
1st Offense 1 year from date of conviction 2 years from date of conviction
2nd Offense 2 years from date of conviction Indefinite Period
3rd+ Offense Indefinite Period Indefinite Period

Regaining Eligibility

Students who are convicted of possession or sale of drugs may regain eligibility for Title IV funding in a number of ways:

  • You automatically regain eligibility the day after the period of ineligibility ends. The 2020-21 FAFSA, Question 23 can help you determine when your period of ineligibility will end.

  • You may also regain eligibility for Title IV funds when you successfully complete a qualified drug rehabilitation program. An acceptable drug rehabilitation program must include at least 2 unannounced drug tests and be qualified to receive funds from a federal, state or local government or from a federally or state-licensed insurance company; or be administered or recognized by a federal, state or local government agency or court, or a federally or state-licensed hospital, health clinic or medical doctor.

  • If you have been denied eligibility for an indefinite period, you can regain eligibility for Title IV funds only after successfully completing a rehabilitation program. It is your responsibility to certify you have successfully completed an acceptable rehabilitation program.