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There is some good news for college students facing drug charges

If you are a college student, no one has to tell you how expensive pursuing a four-year degree can be. In addition to seeking help from your family, working a job and taking out private loans, you may qualify for government-backed financial aid. This aid may include subsidized loans, grants and work-study program participation.

Until recently, having a drug-related conviction during your financial aid award period was likely to cause an immediate suspension of your government-backed money. Thanks to a change in policy, you no longer have to fear losing your federal financial aid because of a drug conviction.

Completing an additional worksheet

When you complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, you still encounter a question about criminal convictions during your award period. If you have a conviction for possessing or distributing a controlled substance in that timeframe, you must disclose it. The FAFSA then requires you to complete a related worksheet to provide additional details about your conviction.

Keeping your financial aid

Obviously, you want to provide accurate and truthful information when you complete your FAFSA and its associated worksheets. Failing to do so may expose you to additional consequences, perhaps even including criminal charges. Still, you do not have to worry about keeping your financial aid, as your drug conviction should have no effect on it.

While your federal financial aid may remain intact following a drug conviction, you may be at risk of academic punishment and other education-related consequences. Ultimately, exploring all possible defenses to the criminal charges you are facing may help you keep your college goals on track.