As June 30 quickly approaches, you are probably busy gathering financial information for your Free Application for Federal Student Aid. After all, June 30 is the deadline for most college-bound students to request federal grants, loans and work-study dollars. Your school may have an even earlier filing deadline, though.
According to the Federal Student Aid Office, the office that is responsible for doling out means-tested financial aid, drug convictions do not affect your eligibility for academic assistance. This is a recent change in policy that means you now can compete for federal financial aid even with drug convictions in your past.
Completing and filing your FAFSA
To remain eligible for financial aid, it is essential to read through the FAFSA’s instructions carefully. You also must provide honest and complete answers to each of the form’s questions. This includes any questions that inquire about your criminal record.
After your disclose your drug conviction on the FAFSA, you may need to prepare and file a supplemental questionnaire. This questionnaire simply asks for additional information about your drug-related conduct.
Avoiding loss of funds and potential criminal charges
Because your drug conviction has no bearing on your ability to apply for or receive federal financial aid, there is no reason to be untruthful. If you are, however, you may miss out on the grants, loans and work-study funds you otherwise would have received. Furthermore, you may face criminal prosecution for perjury, fraud or other offenses.
Ultimately, your most effective strategy for obtaining the federal financial aid you need to pursue your higher education is to provide complete information about any drug convictions in your past.