College is the first time many young adults experience freedom. No longer bound to their parents’ rules, students get to make their own choices. Even if you are otherwise responsible, you may feel tempted to party or let loose from time to time. Many students do so without arousing suspicion. Yet, others engage in underage drinking, drug use or other activities that could invite trouble — or arrest.
If you end up accused of a criminal offense, you will likely worry that a conviction could end your college career. While this outcome is not guaranteed, some institutions may discipline, suspend or expel students for their transgressions. At the very least, certain convictions may impact your ability to receive federal student aid.
How drug offenses can impact federal aid
A conviction for a drug offense may lead to the suspension of any federal aid you receive. The length of suspension depends on the incident in question, though it is possible to regain eligibility early. This outcome, though, may depend on passing two random drug tests or completing an approved rehabilitation program.
How incarceration can impact federal aid
You may also have limited ability to receive federal aid if accusations against you result in incarceration. While incarcerated, students attending state or federal institutions cannot receive federal student loans or the Federal Pell Grant. Though students attending private institutions can still receive the Pell Grant while incarcerated, they will lose their eligibility for federal student loans.
Whether you attend a public or private institution, you will likely regain eligibility for federal aid upon your release. Furthermore, you can reapply for aid while incarcerated, so you can receive it as soon as possible afterward.
A conviction can have devastating effects on your ability to pay for — and attend — college or university. To protect your education, you may want to consult a criminal defense attorney.