Federal Student Aid Penalties for Drug Convictions
Loss of eligibility
Federal or state drug convictions can make you ineligible to receive Federal Student Aid funds, including grants and loans. Convictions, including possession or sale of drugs, must be for an offense that occurred while you were enrolled in school and receiving federal student aid. Federal and state judges may also deny federal student aid to you if you are convicted of drug trafficking or possession. Not all drug convictions make you ineligible for federal financial aid. If the conviction was reversed, set aside, or removed from your record or if you received the conviction as a juvenile (and were not tried as an adult) you would not lose eligibility. Also, local or municipal convictions would not make you ineligible for federal financial aid.
When you complete the FAFSA, you tell us if you have been convicted of a drug offense that would make you ineligible to receive financial aid (question 23c). If you were denied federal benefits by a federal or state judge due to a drug trafficking or possession conviction, a drug abuse hold may be placed on your eligibility according to the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988. All FAFSA applicants are checked against these records. In some cases, we may request additional documentation to confirm your eligibility status.
Students with a drug conviction lose eligibility for federal student aid based on the type and number of convictions. This chart illustrates how long you would remain ineligible, depending on whether the conviction was for sale or possession and whether the student had previous offenses. A conviction for sale of drugs includes convictions for conspiring to sell drugs.
|Offense number||Possession of illegal drugs||Sale of illegal drogs|
|1st offense||1 year from date of conviction||2 years from date of conviction|
|2nd offense||2 years from date of conviction||Indefinite period|
|3+ offenses||Indefinite period||Indefinite period|
If you are convicted of both possessing and selling illegal drugs, and the periods of ineligibility are different, the longer period will apply. If you lose eligibility, you will regain eligibility the day after the period of ineligibility ends.
If you are denied eligibility for an indefinite period, you can regain eligibility after completing any of the following options:
- Successfully completing a rehabilitation program. A qualified drug rehabilitation program must include at least two unannounced drug tests and satisfy at least one of the following requirements:
- Be qualified to receive funds directly or indirectly from a federal, state, or local government program;
- Be qualified to receive payment directly or indirectly from a federally or state-licensed insurance company;
- Be administered or recognized by a federal, state, or local government agency or court; or
- Be administered or recognized by a federally or state-licensed hospital, health clinic, or medical doctor.
- Having the conviction reversed, set aside, or removed from the student’s record so that fewer than two convictions for sale or three convictions for possession remain on the record; or
- Successfully completing two unannounced drug tests which are part of a rehab program (the student does not need to complete the rest of the program).
The type and dates of the remaining convictions will determine when you regain eligibility. It is your responsibility to certify to the Office of Student Financial Services that you have successfully completed the rehabilitation program. Additional documentation may be requested to confirm your eligibility, and further drug convictions will make you ineligible again.
The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 requires that IU Fort Wayne provide each student, upon enrollment, a separate, clear, and conspicuous written notice that advises the student that a conviction for any offense, during a period of enrollment for which the student was receiving Title IV, HEA program funds, under any federal or state law involving the possession or sale of illegal drugs will result in the loss of eligibility for any Title IV, HEA grant, loan, or work-study assistance (HEA Sec. 484(r)(1)); (20 U.S.C. 1091(r)(1)).
If you become ineligible for federal student aid funds due to a drug conviction, we are required to provide you with a clear and conspicuous written notice of your loss of eligibility and the ways you can become eligible again. More information For more information, visit https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/eligibility/criminal-convictions#drug-convictions