One’s college years are widely regarded as a time to learn, explore and experiment. It’s often through these experiences, both the good and bad, that an individual grows. Numerous successful professionals and politicians, including some Presidents of the United States, have admitted to experimenting with drugs during their college years.

For most college students who dabble in recreational drug use, nothing bad happens and they eventually move on with their lives. However, the repercussions for students who are convicted of drug possession or distribution charges are significant and can have serious financial consequences that may inhibit an individual’s ability to continue with his or her studies.

According to the Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid Office, students who rely upon federal student aid to pay for college may lose their ability and eligibility to secure financial aid. For students who were convicted of a drug-related crime while receiving federal financial aid, all aid will be suspended. In order to regain eligibility for federal aid, an individual must complete an “approved drug rehabilitation program” or pass “two unannounced drug tests.”

Individuals who are subsequently convicted of a drug crime after submitting a Free Application for Federal Student Aid may not only lose their eligibility to receive aid, but may also be held financially responsible for the repayment of any aid “received during a period of ineligibility.”

For a student who is attempting to better his or her life by getting a college degree, the loss of federal financial aid may mean that he or she has to drop out of school. For those who do drop out of college, the odds that they will return to and finishing school are slim. When something as important as your education and future are at stake, it’s important to seek the advice and assistance of an attorney.