Financial Aid Penalties for Drug Convictions

A drug conviction can prevent you from receiving federal financial aid.  If you were convicted of a drug offense that occurred while you were enrolled and receiving federal financial aid, you will be ineligible for further federal assistance for the period of time indicated below:


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

Convictions only count if they were for an offense that occurred during a period of enrollment for which you were receiving federal financial aid funds – they do not count if the offense was not during such a period. Also, a conviction that was reversed, set aside, or removed from your record does not count, nor does one received before you turned 18 unless you were tried as an adult.

If you do have drug convictions, you can still apply for federal student aid on your FAFSA. Information from a FAFSA is needed for New York State-funded tuition assistance programs like TAP or APTS, which are not subject to these eligibility restrictions. Also, you could regain eligibility for federal financial aid for part of a school year, depending on the date and number of convictions, or the date you complete an approved rehabilitation program. A current FAFSA must be on file in order to determine your eligibility for federal student aid for part of the school year.

No matter how many or what type of drug convictions you have, there is a way you may regain eligibility for federal student aid funds. If you successfully complete an acceptable drug rehabilitation program that meets the standards set by Congress and the Department of Education, you will regain eligibility on the date you complete the program.

If you have questions about this requirement, you may call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243). Your personal information is confidential, and you will remain anonymous.