To land your dream job nowadays, it is often essential to have a college degree. Paying for your higher education, though, can put a strain on your finances. In fact, the average cost of in-state college tuition in North Carolina in 2020 was roughly $3,500 per semester. Depending on where you go and what you study, you may pay considerably more.
If your family meets certain income requirements, you may qualify for federal government-subsidized loans, grants or work-study dollars. While you may have heard that a drug conviction makes you ineligible for these funds, a recent change in policy may give you some peace of mind.
A harsh past
The war on drugs led to many draconian policies. One of these was an immediate suspension of federal financial aid for those who have convictions for drug-related offenses. Fortunately, this policy no longer exists.
A new approach
Now, if you have a drug-associated conviction, you remain eligible for government-backed financial aid. When preparing your Free Application for Federal Student Aid, though, you still have an affirmative obligation to reveal your criminal record. You also must provide additional information about any drug-related convictions that occur during your award period.
A robust defense
While you are not likely to lose federal educational funding following a drug conviction, there are many reasons to prepare a robust defense. After all, a drug conviction may give you a lifetime criminal record. You may also struggle to find employment in your chosen field, as many employers perform criminal background checks.
Ultimately, exploring all your legal options before going to trial or accepting a plea deal may help you minimize the negative consequences of the drug charges you are currently facing.