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How can drug convictions affect California students?

When you are charged with a drug offense, one of the first things that is likely to come to mind is whether there is the possibility of jail time and what other consequences may be in play. The reality is that a drug conviction carries both immediate penalties, such as prison time, and can also impact your life in the future. For college students, the consequences may even affect their eligibility for financial aid.

According to the Federal Student Aid website, if you are convicted of a drug crime while receiving federal funds toward your college education, your aid may be suspended. It is also possible that you would have to return any money already paid. This is true for all kinds of federal funding that is determined through the FAFSA form, whether it be a federal grant, a government student loan or a work-study program.

Under certain circumstances, it is possible for those whose aid is suspended to become re-eligible. Completing drug rehab or passing two random drug tests can increase your chances of regaining eligibility. It's important to remember to notify your school's financial aid office as soon as possible after completing this process so that the eligibility process can be started again.

If you are charged with a drug crime while receiving federal funding for college, it is crucial that you tell your attorney as soon as possible. Doing so increases the chances of the right people being notified in a timely manner in the case of a conviction and helps ensure that you are aware of any additional steps that need to be completed.

Source: Federal Student Aid, "Students With Criminal Convictions" accessed Feb. 19, 2015

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