Students Convicted of Possession or Sale of Drugs

Students Convicted of Possession or Sale of Drugs

Students Convicted of Possession or Sale of Drugs Penalties

Drug Convictions - HEA Section 484(r) - 34CFR 668.40

As per the Federal Student Aid Handbook, a federal or state drug conviction can disqualify a student for FSA funds.  The student self-certifies in applying for aid th at he is eligible.

Convictions only count if they were for an offense that occurred during a period of enrollment for which the student was receiving Title IV aid.  They do not count if the offense was not during such a period.  Also, any conviction that was reversed, set aside, or removed from the student's record does not count, nor does one receied when he/she was a juvenile, unless they were tried as an adult.

Below is the period of ineligibility for FSA funds, 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.)

                               Possession of illegal drugs                          Sale of illegal drugs

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

If a student was convicted of both possessing and selling illegal drugs, and the periods of ineligibility are different, the student will be ineligible for the longer period.

The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) requires schools to provide each student who becomes ineligible for Title IV aid due to a drug conviction a written notice which states his/her loss of eligibility and how he/she can become eligible again.

Students can regain eligibility the day after the period of ineligibility ends or when they complete a qualified drug rehabilitation program.  Any other drug convictions will make them ineligible again.

Any student who is denied eligibility for an indefinite period of time can only regain Title IV aid after completing a rehabilitation program or if a conviction is reversed, set aside or removed from the student's record so that two convictions for sale or three convictions for possession remain on the record.  Depending on the nature and dates of the remaining convictions, will determine when the student can receive Title IV funds again.  It is up to the student to inform the school of satisfactory completion of the drug rehabilitation program.

The standards for a qualified drug rehabilitation program must include two unannounced drug tests and satisfy 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.
  • Be administered or recognized by a federally or state-licensed hospital, health clinic, or medical doctor.

If the school allows the student to return to the program, they must advise he/she of the above requirements.  If there is any doubt that the student has not followed the standards above, the counselor must find out if it does before paying the student any FSA funds.

  ** Excerpts of the Student Conviction of Possession or Sale of Drugs has been taken from the Federal Student Aid Handbook.**