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Can I get a student loan with a drug conviction on my record?

There are many reasons to avoid getting convicted of a drug-related offense. You can be barred from being employed in some sectors, like the medical field, as an attorney, teacher, airline pilot or any position requiring a security clearance.

If you planned to enter the military to serve your country, those doors may now be closed to you if you have certain drug convictions on your record. You may not be able to live in public housing, or rent from certain landlords because you will no longer be able to pass the necessary background checks.

Yet another area of your life that could be negatively impacted by a drug charge is your ability to receive student aid from the federal government, which includes work-study programs, loans and grants.

On your Free Application for Federal Student Aid, you have to truthfully answer whether you were convicted of any drug offenses during the time you received student aid from the government. If you were, you have to complete a worksheet to see if your conviction makes you ineligible to receive federal student aid.

Your eligibility may be suspended because of your drug conviction. You may be able to become eligible sooner if you enter and complete an approved drug rehab program or pass two random drug screens.

Those who get convicted of drug charges that disqualify them from receiving federal student aid after submitting their FAFSA can become ineligible. Any financial aid that they receive during this ineligibility period may have to be returned.

In order to avoid dealing with these problems that can dog you for the rest of your life, if you get arrested for any type of drug offense, counter with a robust defense with an experienced criminal defense attorney by your side.

Source: U.S. Deparment of Education, "Students with criminal convictions have limited eligibility for federal student aid.," accessed Jan. 27, 2017

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