Can I go to College if I have a Criminal Record?

           There is not a simple answer, it depends.  More and more colleges are choosing to run criminal background checks on applicants prior to accepting any students. But many schools do not have a formal system in place. It is in your best interest to be honest on your college application if you are asked about criminal conduct.  Most schools are specifically concerned with students who have a violent past or have been arrested for sex offenses.  If a background check is required, the school may ask you to order your history and submit it for review.  Usually applicants who are not honest about their past or who do not submit a background check will be denied admission.


Can drug convictions affect your ability to receive federal financial aid?


            Yes, your eligibility to receive FEDERAL aid (grants, loans, work study) can be suspended if the drug conviction occurred WHILE YOU WERE RECEIVING FINANCIAL AID.  When you complete the FAFSA form, you will be asked whether you had a drug conviction for an offense that occurred while you were receiving federal student aid. If the answer is yes, you will be provided a worksheet to help you determine whether your conviction affects your eligibility for federal student aid. 

            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.

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