In Massachusetts, it is possible to face charges for operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Following a conviction for even a first-time offense, you may face some substantial legal penalties. A conviction may also complicate your educational goals.
The average cost of college tuition, fees and other academic expenses in the Bay State is higher than the national average. Fortunately, to help you pay for your higher education, you may be eligible for government-backed aid and private scholarships. Regrettably, an OUI conviction may jeopardize your financial aid package.
Government-backed financial assistance
To gauge your eligibility for government-backed educational aid, you should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. An alcohol-related OUI is not likely to interfere with the federal grants, loans and work-study funds you receive.
A drug-related OUI conviction may be a different story, however. If your conviction involves the possession or distribution of a controlled substance, you may receive a one-year, two-year or indefinite suspension of your federal student aid.
Independent scholarship money
Many private groups and nonprofit organizations offer independent scholarship money to students in Massachusetts. Any conviction, including an OUI, may draw the ire of the administrators of the scholarships you receive. Therefore, to determine if you remain eligible for independent scholarships, you must review program rules.
Additional educational expenses
Jus as an OUI conviction may cause you to lose educational funding, it may also increase your educational expenses. That is, if your conviction violates your university’s code of conduct, you may not be able to live in affordable on-campus housing or participate in groups that pay students stipends.
The best time to protect your college budget from the potentially negative effects of an OUI conviction is when you are facing charges. Ultimately, defending yourself appropriately may keep college affordable.