It is normal to try new things when you leave home to attend college. After all, you are now an adult and must figure out the person you want to be. Still, if trying new things includes experimenting with controlled substances, you may find yourself facing serious criminal charges.
Because a conviction is likely to come with severe legal penalties, you must take your drug charges seriously. Fortunately, because of a recent change in policy, you do not have to worry about losing your federal government-subsidized financial aid.
A long and brutal history
For years, the U.S. Department of Education suspended the financial aid of anyone who had a conviction for a drug-related offense.
This approach was bizarre to both criminal justice and academic advocates, as the DOE seemingly did not care about other criminal convictions. That is, while a convicted murderer usually was able to secure loans, grants and work-study dollars, someone with a simple drug possession conviction was not.
A bright new day
While there is little information about what caused the DOE to change, the change signals a bright new day for college students who have drug convictions. Now, while you still must tell the DOE about your conviction, a drug-associated conviction has no bearing on your eligibility for government-backed financial aid.
The DOE’s change applies only to federal academic assistance, so a drug conviction may still endanger your private scholarships. You may also face academic discipline. Consequently, it may be advisable to explore all your defense options before accepting a guilty plea.