Federal Financial Aid Penalties for Drug Violations

Drug Conviction and Financial Aid Eligibility

As part of the Higher Education Act, a student may become ineligible for federal student aid upon conviction of any offense involving the possession or sale of illegal drugs during a period of enrollment in which federal aid was received (including all grants, loans, or work assistance). The following table outlines the policy on financial aid eligibility.

The possession of a controlled substance:
Ineligibility period: First offense 1 year
Second offense 2 years
Third offense Indefinite
The sale of a controlled substance:
Ineligibility period: First offense 2 years
Second offense Indefinite


A student whose eligibility has been suspended may regain eligibility for federal student funds by successfully completing a drug rehabilitation program. The program must include at least two unannounced drug tests and be recognized as a Federal, State, or local government agency program. The student will regain eligibility on the date of successfully completing the program.