Address 1200 Harger Road, Suite 830, Oak Brook, IL 60523
630-472-9700Available 24/7
Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Youtube Blog
Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C.
630-472-9700Available 24/7

Can an Illinois Drug Conviction Really Terminate Your Student Financial Aid Eligibility?

Posted on in Drug Crimes

drug charges financial aid student loansAccording to the United States Department of Education, there are several situations in which a student may lose financial aid eligibility based on a prior drug conviction.

Requirements for Renewing Financial Aid Eligibility

The U.S. Department of Education determines a student’s financial eligibility each year through use of the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) form. Every year the student must complete an updated FAFSA form in order to remain eligible for financial aid. The U.S. Department of Education can determine whether a student was convicted of a drug-related offense in the last year by reviewing the FAFSA form, as one portion of the FAFSA form requires applicants to indicate whether they have been convicted of a drug-related offense. If the student answers affirmatively, he or she is then required to complete a supplemental worksheet concerning the nature of the offense for which she was convicted.

Consequences for Drug-Related Convictions and Student Financial Aid

If you were convicted of a drug-related offense while receiving federal financial aid, your eligibility for the program may be suspended based on the nature of your offense. According to the U.S. Department of Education, students convicted of any offense under federal or Illinois law involving drug possession or sale of a controlled substance are not eligible to receive any grant, loan or work assistance funding from the date of conviction until a specified end date.

The period of ineligibility based on a drug offense depends upon two factors: whether the student has been convicted of prior drug offenses and whether the offense is for sale or for possession of the controlled substances. Financial aid applicants who are convicted of a first offense possession charge typically face a one-year suspension from financial aid eligibility. In contrast, applicants who have been convicted of second or third offenses for sale of illegal drugs or convicted of a third offense for possession of illegal drugs may face a suspension for an indefinite period of time.

Getting Back on Track After an Illinois Drug Conviction

If you have been convicted of a drug-related offense, it may be possible for you to avoid these harsh financial aid-related consequences by trying the following options:

1. Attend a qualified drug rehabilitation program: If an applicant’s eligibility for federal financial aid has been suspended, applicants may regain eligibility by completing an acceptable drug rehabilitation program.

2. Determine whether your conviction is actually a legal conviction: If the conviction occurred when you were a juvenile, the conviction will not terminate your eligibility unless you were tried as an adult. Additionally, a conviction may not affect your financial aid eligibility if it has been set aside, reversed or removed or expunged from your record. A trusted Illinois criminal defense attorney can answer questions about what your prior criminal charge means for your record.

If you have recently been charged with a drug-related offense or convicted of one such offense and are concerned about how the charge will affect your future plans to receive federal financial aid, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C. at (630) 472- 9700 to discuss your options. If you have not yet been convicted, we can discuss alternative sentencing options under Illinois law. We work hard to help you minimize the consequences of past criminal mistakes so that you can carry on with your future plans.

Lead Counsel
National Trial Lawyers
Rated by Super Lawyers
Back to Top