Federal Student Aid Penalties For Drug Law Violations

Students convicted of possession or sale of drugs while receiving Title IV funding are no longer eligible for financial aid.

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 offenses. (A conviction for sale of drugs includes convictions for conspiring to sell drugs.)

 Possession of illegal drugsSale of illegal drugs
1st offense1 year2 years
2nd offense2 yearsindefinite
3+ offensesIndefiniteIndefinite


If the student was convicted of both possessing and selling illegal drugs, and the periods of ineligibility are different, the student will be ineligible for the longer period.

The Financial Aid Office will provide each student who becomes ineligible for Title IV aid due to a drug conviction a clear and conspicuous written notice of the loss of eligibility and the methods whereby the student can become eligible again.

A student regains eligibility the day after the period of ineligibility ends or upon successful completion of a qualified drug rehabilitation program or, effective beginning with the 2010–2011 award year, passes two unannounced drug tests given by such a program. Further drug convictions will make the student ineligible again.

Students denied eligibility for an indefinite period can regain it after successfully completing a rehabilitation program (as described below), passing two unannounced drug tests from such a program, or if a 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. It is the student’s responsibility to certify to you that they have successfully completed the rehabilitation program; as with the conviction question on the FAFSA.

When a student regains eligibility during the award year, Pell, ACG, National SMART, TEACH, and Campus‐based aid may be awarded for the current payment period and Direct and FFEL loans for the period of enrollment.

Standards for a qualified drug rehabilitation program
A qualified drug rehabilitation program must include at least two unannounced drug tests and must satisfy at least one of the following requirements:

  • Be qualified to receive funds directly or indirectly from a federal, state, or local government program.
  • Be qualified to receive payment directly or indirectly from a federally or state‐licensed insurance company.
  • Be administered or recognized by a federal, state, or local government agency or court.
  • Be administered or recognized by a federally or state‐licensed hospital, health clinic, or medical doctor.