Federal Financial Aid Penalties for Drug Law Violations


The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) requires institutions of higher education to notify students about provisions in the law that link financial aid eligibility to convictions for certain drug-related offenses. A student's eligibility for Federal student aid is suspended if the student is convicted, under Federal or State law, of any offense involving the possession or sale of a controlled substance (generally meaning illegal drugs, but not including alcohol or tobacco). Any such suspension of eligibility begins on the date of conviction and lasts until the end of a statutorily specified period. The suspension of eligibility ranges from one year to indefinite, depending upon the number and type of convictions. A student may regain eligibility early by completing a drug rehabilitation program that meets certain statutory and regulatory requirements (including two unannounced drug tests), or if the conviction is overturned.