John Elledge & Assoc PC
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Will drug convictions affect your child’s federal financial aid?

Sending your child to James Madison University for the first time is a momentous occasion and milestone. It can be nerve-wrecking to let your child finally go off on their own. While just letting them leave the nest is difficult and worrisome, what if your child gets into trouble while away? For example, your child may face criminal charges for illegal drug possession or distribution.

You’ve spent most of your life caring for your child, so it’s only natural to want to protect them and their future. Illegal possession or the unlawful sale of drugs could make your child ineligible for federal financial aid. In turn, this may impact their ability to continue a path in higher education. College is expensive, and your child may rely on financial aid to cover its costs.

How do drug convictions impact your child’s student loans?

According to Federal Student Aid, an Office of the U.S. Department of Education, the illegal possession or distribution of drugs could result in the suspension of your child’s federal student loan eligibility. However, drug offenses must occur while your child had already been the beneficiary of financial aid. Any prior offenses cannot result in suspension.

How long is your child ineligible?

Your child’s of ineligibility varies depending on if they have any previous offenses. Additionally, a conviction for illegal drug possession carries different penalties than a conviction for the sale of illegal drugs.

If this is your child’s first illegal possession offense, their suspension period lasts a year from when they were convicted. For a second offense, they are ineligible for two years after their conviction date. However, if this is your child’s third offense, they face a penalty with an undetermined timeframe.

Meanwhile, a conviction for unlawfully selling drugsresults in harsher penalties. Your child could be ineligible for two years after a first offense. The suspension period begins from the date of your child’s conviction. Second and third offenses result in ineligibility for an unknown duration of time.

Can your child regain eligibility early?

It’s possible for your child to reinstate their federal student aid earlier than expected. To do so, they must meet one of the following requirements:

  • They enrolled in and successfully completed an approved drug rehabilitation program.
  • They tested negative for drugs in two unannounced tests.

Drug convictions have the potential to forever impact your child’s future. Higher education’s exorbitant cost may mean your child relies on federal financial aid to fund their schooling. You want what’s best for them and to protect their future and life. So, when your child is confronted by a serious drug charge or conviction, you may seek professional legal assistance. An attorney could help you better understand the situation and what can be done to help your child.

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