WHAT IS FINANCIAL AID FOR COLLEGES?
Financial aid is a way that students get help paying for school. It is available from a variety of sources for college, career school, graduate school, and professional school.
WHERE DOES THE FINANCIAL AID COME FROM?
Financial aid can come from many places, and each requires certain eligibility considerations.
- the U.S. federal government
- the state where you live
- the college you attend, or
- a nonprofit or private organization.
In this section, we will discuss the Federal Financial Aid.
WHAT DO I NEED TO DO TO APPLY FOR FEDERAL FINANCIAL AID?
Before you can apply for Federal Financial Student Aid of any kind, you will need to fill out a form called FAFSA – Free Application for Federal Student Aid
Question 23 is the question that relates to drug convictions. It is important to understand that question in order to answer it correctly.
WHERE CAN I FIND THE FAFSA APPLICATION?
You can find the FAFAS application as well as information on how to fill it out here:
WHAT IS QUESTION 23 ON THE FAFSA?
This is question 23:
23. Have you been convicted for the possession or sale of illegal drugs for an offense that occurred while you were receiving federal student aid (such as grants, work-study, or loans)?
I HAVE A DRUG CONVICTION. HOW SHOULD I ANSWER QUESTION 23 ON THE FAFSA?
You will want to select “No” to answer this question if:
- You have never received federal student aid.
- You have never had a conviction for possessing or selling illegal drugs.
- The conviction was not a state or federal offense.
- The conviction occurred before you were 18 years of age and you were not tried as an adult.
- The conviction was removed from your record.
- The offense that led to your conviction did not occur during a period of enrollment for which you were receiving federal student aid (grants, work-study, or loans).
WHAT IF I HAVE TO ANSWER “YES” TO QUESTION 23?
Answering “Yes” in this section does not automatically disqualify you for Federal aid eligibility.
You will be mailed additional questions to help determine whether or not you qualify.
Even if ineligible for Federal aid, you may still qualify for educational grants from the state or assistance programs and they all require you to fill out the FAFSA, so it is recommended that you continue through and submit the FAFSA.
If you are unsure how to answer this question, call 1-800-433-3243 for help.
AM I ELIGIBLE FOR FEDERAL FINANCIAL AID WITH A CRIMINAL BACKGROUND?
Once you’re released, most eligibility limitations will be removed. In fact, you may apply for aid before you’re released so your aid is processed in time for you to start school.
However, if your incarceration was for a drug-related offense or if you are subject to an involuntary civil commitment for a sexual offense, your eligibility may be limited.
IF I AM ON PROBATION OR PAROLE, AM I ABLE TO GET FEDERAL FINANCIAL AID?
Yes. If you are on probation or parole or living in a halfway house, you may be eligible for federal student aid.
But remember, if you were convicted of a drug-related offense or if you are subject to an involuntary civil commitment for a sexual offense, your eligibility may be limited.
HOW DO DRUG CONVICTIONS AFFECT MY ABILITY TO GET FEDERAL FINANCIAL STUDENT AID?
There are a number of ways that a drug conviction might affect Federal Financial Aid:
Your eligibility might be suspended if the offense occurred while you were receiving federal student aid (grants, loans, or work-study).
But, if your eligibility for federal student aid has been suspended due to a drug conviction, you can regain eligibility early by successfully completing an approved drug rehabilitation program or by passing two unannounced drug tests administered by an approved drug rehabilitation program.
If you regain eligibility during the award year, notify your financial aid office immediately so you can get any aid you’re eligible for.
If you are convicted of a drug-related offense after you submit the FAFSA form, you might lose eligibility for federal student aid, and you might be liable for returning any financial aid you received during a period of ineligibility.
WHAT OTHER CONVICTIONS MIGHT AFFECT MY ELIGIBILITY FOR FEDERAL FINANCIAL STUDENT AID?
If you have been convicted of a forcible or non-forcible sexual offense, when you have completed your incarceration for that offense, you cannot receive a Federal Pell Grant.