Students Convicted of Possession or Sale of Drugs

A federal or state drug conviction can disqualify a student for Federal Student Aid funds.

Those convicted of an offense that occurred during a period of enrollment for which the student received Federal Student Aid will not be eligible for Title IV aid. A conviction that was reversed, set aside, or removed from the student’s record will not affect eligibility nor does a conviction a student received as a juvenile, unless the student was tried as an adult.

The chart below illustrates the period of ineligibility for Federal Student Aid 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.)

Period of Ineligibility for Federal Student Aid Funds
  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 Indefinitely
3rd Offense Indefinitely  

If the 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.

Schools must provide each student who becomes ineligible for Federal Student Aid funds due to a drug conviction a clear and conspicuous written notice of his or her loss of eligibility and the methods whereby he or she can become eligible again.

A student regains eligibility the day after the period of ineligibility ends or when he or she successfully completes a qualified drug rehabilitation program or passes two unannounced drug tests given by such a program. Further drug convictions will make him or her ineligible again.

Students denied eligibility for an indefinite period can regain it after successfully completing a rehabilitation program (as described below):

Standards for a qualified drug rehabilitation program

A qualified drug rehabilitation program must include at least two unannounced drug tests and satisfy at least one of the following requirements:

  • be part of a local government program; or state‐licensed insurance company;
  • be approved by a state or local agency or court;
  • be certified by a health clinic, or medical doctor.

Please note: It is the student’s responsibility to certify to the Office of Student Aid that they have successfully completed the rehabilitation program.