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Bucher Law Group, LLC

Criminal convictions that limit eligibility for student aid

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Being charged with a crime can be life-altering for Wisconsin residents. A criminal conviction can lead to serious penalties, such as fines and jail or prison time. Additionally, a defendant could suffer personal and professional consequences, because a criminal conviction could harm their reputation. Another way a criminal record could impact an individual is by impacting the ability to get an education.

Based on the terms associated with the U.S. Department of Education, students who have a criminal conviction on their record have a limited eligibility to receive federal student aid. This could be based on whether a student aid applicant has been incarcerated or the type of conviction they have on their record. If you are currently incarcerated, once you are released, most eligibility limitations are likely to be removed.

It is possible to apply for federal student aid before you are released so that the application can be processed in time for you to start school shortly after your release. It should be noted that for individuals incarcerated for a drug-related offense or an offense that caused you to be subject to an involuntary civil commitment for a sexual offense, eligibility might be limited.

If eligibility has been suspended due to a drug charge, it is possible to regain eligibility early by completing an approved drug rehabilitation program or by passing two unannounced drug tests that are administered by an approved drug rehabilitation program. If eligibility is regained, it is important to notify the financial aid office so you can receive the aid that you are eligible for. However, if you are convicted of a drug offense while you are receiving student aid, you might be liable for returning any financial received.

Other offenses that could limit eligibility for student aid include forcible and non-forcible sexual offenses and being subject of an involuntary civil commitment after completing a period of incarceration for that offense. It should be noted that those on probation, parole or living in a halfway house may be eligible for financial aid if those individuals were not convicted of a drug offense or sexual offense.

Those facing criminal charges should understand that the crimes they are accused of could limit their ability to afford a higher education. Additionally, defendants should use this information to further their criminal defense, helping them strategize to reduce or dismiss the charges against them.

Source: Studentaid.ed.gov, " Students With Criminal Convictions," accessed June 24, 2017

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