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It is no secret that a college education is expensive. Many college students across the country rely on some form of financial aid, and even then, the amount they receive may not always be enough. The stakes are even higher for college students who carry a drug conviction on their record. According to the U.S. Department of Education, students with a criminal record may have a hard time applying for federal financial aid. This does not mean that all sources of federal aid are off-limits to students who have been convicted. Rather, these students may find it helpful to consider what their options are when it comes to federal funding:

  • Students at federal or state schools — Students at federal and state institutions who have been convicted of drug crimes may not be eligible for the Federal Pell Grant or federal student loans. At the same time, they may still receive aid through the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) as well as through federal work study opportunities.
  • Students at private or independent schools — For students who attend private or independent institutions, a drug conviction may only affect their eligibility for federal student loans. This means they will likely still qualify for the Federal Pell Grant, work study funds, and the FSEOG.

Protect your college career and your future

While a drug conviction can limit your financial aid opportunities, it is important to know that not all sources of funding are cut off when you have a criminal record. You may still qualify for certain federal aid programs, and it is worth considering your options so that you can afford your education.

Students who have not yet been convicted but are facing drug charges may want to protect their college career as much as possible. Consider reaching out to a criminal defense attorney who can help preserve your record and your freedom.