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Financial Aid

Drug Convictions – Student Eligibility Policy

A federal or state drug conviction (but not a local or municipal conviction) can disqualify a student for federal student aid (FSA) funds.

Students who have been convicted for the possession or sale of illegal drugs for an offense that occurred while enrolled and receiving federal student aid are ineligible for federal student aid (FSA) funds.  A conviction for sale of drugs includes convictions for conspiring to sell drugs.  Convictions do not count if the offense was not during such a period, unless the student was denied federal benefits for drug trafficking by a federal or state judge.  Also, a conviction that was reversed, set aside, or removed from the student’s record does not count, nor does one received when the student was a juvenile, unless the student was tried as an adult.

Initially, students are required to answer either “No” or “Yes” to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Question 23:

Have you been convicted for the possession or sale of illegal drugs for an offense that occurred while you were receiving federal student aid (such as grants, loans or work-study)?

Answer “No” if you have never received federal student aid or if you have never had a drug conviction for an offense that occurred while receiving federal student aid.

If you have a drug conviction for an offense that occurred while you were receiving federal student aid, answer “Yes,” but complete and submit this application, and we [FSA] will mail you a worksheet to help you determine if your conviction affects your eligibility for aid. If you are unsure how to answer this question, call 1-800-433-3243 for help.

Students who answered “No” to FAFSA Question 23 meet the student eligibility criteria for drug convictions and are eligible for FSA funds.  Students who answered “Yes” to FAFSA Question 23 do not meet the student eligibility criteria for drug conviction and are ineligible for FSA funds.

After the FAFSA is filed, the student may lose or regain eligibility for FSA funds during an award year.

Students who answered “No” to FAFSA Question 23 and were eligible for financial aid, but later become ineligible due to being convicted of selling or possessing illegal drugs while enrolled and receiving Title IV funds are required to contact the Office of Financial Aid at Linfield immediately.  The Office of Financial Aid will work with the student to determine their financial aid eligibility.  Linfield will provide a student who becomes ineligible for FSA funds due to a drug conviction a clear and conspicuous written notice of his loss of eligibility and the methods whereby he can become eligible again.

 Depending on the conviction, students are ineligible for financial aid for:

  • One year for a first offense
  • Two years for a second offense
  • An indefinite period for a third offense

 Students convicted of selling illegal drugs are ineligible for federal financial aid for:

  • Two years for a first offense
  • An indefinite period for a second offense

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.

Students denied eligibility for an indefinite period of time can regain eligibility after completing any of the following 3 options:

  1. Having the conviction 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;
  2. Successfully completing an approved rehabilitation program (as described below, which includes passing two unannounced drug tests from such a program); or
  3. Completing two unannounced drug tests which are part of an approved rehabilitation program (the student does not need to complete the rest of the program) 

Students who answered “yes” to FAFSA Question 23 and were ineligible for financial aid, but later become eligible can regain eligibility the day after the period of ineligibility ends as stated above; or when the student successfully completes a qualified drug rehabilitation program that includes passing two unannounced drug tests given by such a program.  Further drug convictions will make the student ineligible for FSA funds again.

When a student regains eligibility during the award year, the student must contact the Office of Financial Aid at Linfield, and the Office of Financial Aid may award Pell Grant, TEACH Grant, and Campus-Based aid for the current payment period, and Direct Loans for the period of enrollment if the student indeed has regained eligibility.

Standards for a qualified drug rehabilitation program

A qualified drug rehabilitation program must include at least two unan­nounced drug tests and 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