Will you lose your college scholarship after an OWI conviction?

On Behalf of | Aug 3, 2021 | OWI

If you are like many UW-Madison students, going to college in Wisconsin’s capital city has been a life-long dream of yours. Paying tuition and fees at the Badger State’s flagship university, though, often requires some financial acrobatics.

Having athletic prowess, good grades or impressive skills may qualify you for a private scholarship. Regrettably, if you have an arrest or conviction for operating a vehicle while impaired, your private scholarship dollars may be on the line.

The organization’s code of conduct

While there are certainly exceptions, many organizations require private scholarship recipients to abide by a code of conduct. This code of conduct may require you to attend classes, participate in certain activities and avoid bad behaviors. Put bluntly, driving drunk may violate the code of conduct for the scholarships you receive.

Academic discipline

Even if your private scholarship organization does not explicitly require you to stay out of legal trouble, it probably mandates university attendance. At UW-Madison, the Dean of Students Office disciplines students who misuse alcohol. If your OWI arrest or conviction results in a suspension or expulsion, your academic discipline may trigger a revocation of your private scholarship.

Federal financial aid

While an OWI conviction may negatively affect private scholarship dollars, there is a bit of good news. You likely do not have to disclose your OWI arrest or conviction on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Consequently, you probably do not have to worry about losing government-backed grants, loans or work-study funds for an ordinary OWI offense.

With private academic scholarships, convictions are usually more serious than charges. Ultimately, to protect your college budget, you may need to defend yourself aggressively after your OWI arrest.