Even though a four-year education can be almost unbelievably expensive, obtaining a bachelor’s degree is a good way to build wealth. In fact, according to reporting from CNBC, individuals with these degrees tend to earn about 75% more over their lifetimes than those who only have high school diplomas.
If you need financial assistance to turn your educational dreams into reality, you have probably heard about the risks of possessing or selling drugs. After all, the U.S. Department of Education had a harsh practice of suspending federal grants, loans and work-study funds for students with drug convictions. Thankfully, that holdover from the war on drugs no longer exists.
You probably can keep your federal dollars
After receiving pressure from criminal justice advocates for decades, the DOE says it does not consider a student’s drug convictions when determining eligibility for college aid. Nevertheless, the DOE continues to inquire about these convictions on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
While you must answer the FAFSA’s questions honestly, you do not have to worry about becoming ineligible for financial assistance.
You still may lose other types of financial aid
Many college students have comprehensive financial aid packages. Your package may include federal educational funding, private scholarships and even financial assistance from your college or university. If so, it is important to note the DOE’s policy change applies only to FAFSA dollars.
While you are not at risk of losing your government-subsidized funds, your private scholarships or university aid may be in jeopardy. Therefore, it is important to understand the effects a potential drug conviction may have on your educational budget.
Ultimately, to keep college as affordable as possible, it may be advisable to look into all possible defense options before accepting a prosecutor’s plea deal.