Notice of Federal Student Financial Aid Penalties for Drug Law Violations

A conviction for any offence under any federal or state law involving the possession or sale of illegal drugs, during a period of enrolment when receiving federal aid, will result in the loss of eligibility for any Title IV, HEA grant, loan or work study assistance. A conviction that has been reversed, set aside or removed does not count, nor does one received as a juvenile, unless tried as an adult.

The chart below illustrates the period of ineligibility for FSA funds, depending on whether the conviction was for sale or possession and whether the student had previous offences. (A conviction for the sale of drugs includes convictions for conspiring to sell drugs.)


Possession of
Illegal Drugs

Sale of Illegal Drugs

1st offence

1 year from date of conviction

2 years from date of conviction

2nd offence

2 years from date of conviction

Indefinite period

3+ offences

Indefinite period of ineligibility

Indefinite period of ineligibility

To regain eligibility, a person must successfully complete a drug rehabilitation programme recognised by a federal, state or local government agency and the programme must include at least two unannounced drug tests OR the conviction must be reversed, set aside or removed from the student’s record. If a student is denied eligibility for an indefinite period, the student can regain eligibility after completing a drug rehabilitation programme, as described previously, or if the conviction is reversed, set aside or removed from the student’s record so that fewer than two convictions for sale or three convictions for possession remain on the record. In such cases, the nature and dates of the remaining convictions will determine when the student regains eligibility

Student Responsibilities if Convicted During Period of Enrolment

According to the U.S. Department of Education, if a student is convicted of a drug offence after receiving Federal aid, they must notify the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid immediately.

That student will

  • Be immediately ineligible for further aid and will be required to pay back all aid received after the loss of eligibility.

  • Be required to self‐certify their eligibility for Federal aid with regard to drug convictions on the FAFSA.

If a student has been convicted of a drug offence while applying to receive Title IV Federal financial aid, they are required to report the conviction on item number 23 of the FAFSA. For additional information (PDF) on this requirement call a Federal representative on 800 433 3243.