For many families, securing financial aid is the only way to make a child’s dream of attending college a reality. If you are among them, you may have felt considerable relief after finding out your son or daughter would receive it. It is important to understand, however, that certain actions have the potential to jeopardize financial aid eligibility, and illegal drug use is one of them.

According to the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid Office, any type of drug conviction your child receives has the potential to impact financial aid eligibility. While many have long opposed this rule, arguing that penalizing students by taking away their education is no way to help them grow and improve, for the time being, the rule remains.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid

Anyone who wants to utilize financial aid to pay for school must complete a FAFSA form. On that form is a question about whether the applicant has ever received a conviction for a drug-related offense while receiving federal aid. If your child must answer yes to this question, it may hinder his or her chances of being eligible for aid.

If you lose access to financial aid, you may be able to become eligible for it again if you complete a drug rehabilitation program or pass two random drug tests conducted by an approved rehabilitation center.

Drug convictions after the fact

What if your child receives a conviction for drug possession, drug sales or something similar after filling out and submitting the FAFSA form? This, too, may impact financial aid eligibility moving forward. In some cases, your child may also have to return financial aid already used during a time when he or she should have been ineligible.