Obtaining a four-year college education is not cheap in the Badger State. In fact, for the 2018-2019 academic year, the average cost of in-state tuition was nearly $16,000. Fortunately, if you qualify, government-backed financial aid can help you cover tuition and other expenses.

To determine your eligibility for grants, loans, work-study and other types of financial assistance, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. When preparing the application, you must answer questions about any drug convictions you have.

The consequences of a drug conviction

If you have certain drug convictions before applying for government-backed student aid, you may be temporarily ineligible for assistance. Similarly, if a judge or jury convicts you of a drug offense when you are already receiving federal aid, you may lose your funds. Failing to report the conviction may also require you to reimburse the government for any aid you should not have received.

The process for reinstating federal aid

While a drug conviction may result in a suspension of your student aid, you are probably not out of luck forever. If you want to seek early reinstatement, you have two options:

  • Complete an approved drug rehabilitation program
  • Pass two unannounced drug tests at an approved drug rehabilitation program

The federal government does not independently monitor suspensions for possible reinstatement. Therefore, it is critical for you to communicate with your school’s financial aid office when you become eligible again. An administrator at this office may have additional paperwork for you to complete.

Potential problems with other funds

To pay for your educational expenses, you may rely on more than federal student aid. If you have private scholarships or grants, a drug conviction may interrupt these funds. To gauge the potential effect of a drug conviction, you must check with program administrators.

Obtaining a degree from one of Wisconsin’s many colleges or universities is apt to open many doors for you. While a drug conviction may set you back temporarily, you likely still have options for securing the funding you need to complete your education.