U.S. Department of Education changes financial aid drug policy

On Behalf of | Dec 22, 2021 | Drug Charges |

Paying for a college education often requires taking out substantial loans. Still, if your household meets the income requirements, your child may be eligible for federal government-backed financial aid. This assistance may include subsidized grants, work-study dollars or low-interest loans.

In the past, a conviction for a controlled substance offense triggered an immediate suspension of government-funded financial aid. After a recent change in policy, drug convictions no longer endanger financial assistance from the federal government.

Disclosure of any drug-related convictions

Even though the U.S. Department of Education says it does not consider drug-related convictions when awarding federal financial aid, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid continues to inquire about them. Consequently, your son or daughter may have an obligation to disclose any drug convictions on the FAFSA.

After disclosing controlled substance convictions, your child may also have to file a separate worksheet along with his or her completed FAFSA. This worksheet gives DOE officials more information about the conviction, but it should have no bearing on financial aid eligibility.

Other real-world consequences

If your child is facing drug charges in Nebraska, the DOE’s change in policy should be encouraging news. Still, there are other real-world consequences that often accompany a drug conviction. For example, your child may face academic discipline from his or her school. He or she may also have a permanent criminal record.

For many first-time offenders, drug charges usually come with some defense options. Ultimately, rather than risking your child’s future, it may be advisable to explore these options before accepting a plea deal.