Federal Student Financial Aid Penalties for Drug Law Violations

Reviewed 10/13/21
Updated: 7/13/2022
Contact: Financial Aid

William Jewell College follows federal requirements concerning student eligibility for Title IV Federal (Financial) Student Aid. Under federal regulations, students convicted of a drug offense that occurred during a period of enrollment while they were receiving Federal Student Aid, lose eligibility for that aid. Federal Student Aid includes grants, loans, and work assistance otherwise provided to eligible college students under Title IV of the Higher Education Act. The period of non-eligibility begins on the date of the conviction.

The period of ineligibility applies to any student who has been convicted of any offense under any Federal or State law involving the possession or sale of a controlled substance as defined by section 102(6) of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. § 802(6)). Laws regulating distilled spirits, wine, and malt beverages are not included within the definition of “controlled substance.”

The chart below shows the period of ineligibility for Federal Student Aid, depending on whether the conviction was for sale or possession and whether the student had prior convictions.

  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 Indefinite period

Any student who loses Federal Student Aid Eligibility due to drug violations will be informed by the Financial Aid Office of the loss of eligibility and the ways in which eligibility can be regained. Generally, students may regain eligibility through successful completion of an approved rehabilitation program, reversal or set aside of a conviction, or expiration of the period of ineligibility.

Other financial aid programs, including certain state programs, may also limit eligibility for students convicted of a drug offense.