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.

Possession of a Controlled Substance Ineligibility Period
Possession of a Controlled Substance Ineligibility Period
First Offense1 Year
Second Offense2 Years
Third OffenseIndefinite
Sale of a Controlled Substance Ineligibility Period
First Offense2 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.)