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Do you have to disclose a DUI or drug conviction on your FAFSA?

| Jan 21, 2021 | Criminal Defense

If you intend to attend college, you should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid by your university’s deadline. This application gauges your eligibility for valuable financial benefits, such as Pell grants, government-backed loans and work-study funds that may help you cover the costs of your education.

When you complete the FAFSA, you must answer some questions about your background, including some criminal convictions. Fortunately, you usually do not have to disclose an ordinary DUI arrest or conviction on your FAFSA.

You must disclose drug convictions

While a DUI conviction is not likely to affect your eligibility for federal financial aid, a drug conviction may be a different matter. If you have a conviction for selling or possessing drugs during your award period, you may lose your financial aid for one year, two years or even indefinitely.

If your drug-related conviction falls outside of your award period, though, you typically do not have to disclose it. Therefore, if your conviction happened when you were not receiving federal financial aid, it too is likely to have little effect on your eligibility.

You can end drug-related suspensions early

If a drug conviction causes a suspension of your federal student aid, you should receive a suspension or denial letter. This letter details how you may end your drug-related suspension early. Typically, you may do so by either completing an approved rehabilitation program or passing two surprise drug tests.

Ultimately, whether you continue to receive federal financial aid may be up to you. If a drug-related offense results in a suspension, notify school officials of your efforts to end the suspension to protect your eligibility for ongoing financial assistance.