Redefining the Classroom

Federal Student Financial Aid Penalties for Drug Law Violations

Federal law provides that a student who has been convicted of an offense under any federal or state law involving the possession or sale of a controlled substance during a period of enrollment for which the student was receiving financial aid shall not be eligible to receive any federal or institutional grant, loan, or work assistance during the period beginning on the date of such conviction and ending after the interval specified in the following table.

If convicted of an offense involving:

Possession of a Controlled Substance

Ineligibility Period

First Offense

1 year

Second Offense

2 years

Third Offense

Indefinite

Sale of a Controlled Substance

Ineligibility Period

First Offense

2 years

Second Offense

Indefinite

A student whose eligibility has been denied for an indefinite period can regain eligibility after completing any of the following 3 options:

  1. Successfully completing a rehabilitation program, which includes passing two unannounced drug tests from such a program;
  2. 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
  3. 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.)