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Federal Student FInancial Aid Penalties for Drug Law Violations

Notice of Federal Student Financial Aid Penalties for Drug Law Violations

The Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA) as amended suspends financial aid eligibility for students who have been convicted under federal or state law of the sale or possession of drugs:

HEA Sec. 484(r)(1)

IN GENERAL- A student who has been convicted of any offense under any Federal or State law involving the possession or sale of a controlled substance shall not be eligible to receive any grant, loan, or work assistance under this title during the period beginning on the date of such conviction and ending after the interval specified in the following table:

The possession of a controlled substance Ineligibility period is
First offense 1 year
Second offense 2 years
Third offense Indefinite
The sale of a controlled substance Ineligibility period is
First offense 2 years
Second offense Indefinite

If you have a conviction(s) for these offenses, call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) or go to the FAFSA on the Web site, click on “Before Beginning A FAFSA” in the left column, then click on “Student Aid Eligibility Worksheet” to find out how this law applies to you.

If you have lost federal student aid eligibility due to a drug conviction, you can regain eligibility if you pass two unannounced drug tests conducted by a drug rehabilitation program that complies with criteria established by the U.S. Department of Education.

Even if you are ineligible for federal aid, you should complete the FAFSA because you may be eligible for nonfederal aid from states and private institutions. If you regain eligibility during the award year, notify your financial aid administrator immediately. If you are convicted of a drug-related offense after you submit the FAFSA, you might lose eligibility for federal student aid, and you might be liable for returning any financial aid you received during a period of ineligibility.


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