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Can I get a student loan with a drug charge on my record?

Many times, being charged with possession of drugs means that you may be convicted and have this conviction on your permanent record. If you want to better yourself by going to school in Louisiana, that may raise questions in your mind as to whether you can receive financial aid from the federal government. Some people think that they will be denied financial aid if they have a drug charge on their record.

This is not true. Of course, there are going to be different circumstances as to when the drug charge was issued, but generally speaking, you may be able to receive financial aid. What matters to the authorities is when the conviction took place, not necessarily that you have a charge. If you comply with the federal remedial measures, you will probably be able to receive aid.

The first thing you need to do is fill out the Free Application for Federal Financial Aid, or FAFSA. This is the form you fill out to get financial aid. This determines your eligibility for Pell, Stafford and Perkins Loans, and the Federal Work Study, all federally funded.

In order to accept the loans, you have to be enrolled in school. You also must meet certain income requirements.

In the criminal context, financial aid is determined by three factors: the type of conviction you have, when it occurred and if you are incarcerated.

The government is only interested in certain drug-related convictions. Drug charges can limit your eligibility if you were receiving financial aid when you were arrested and charged. For eligibility to be suspended or denied, you must have been on financial aid when the conviction occurred.

Getting legal advocacy involved in this process can ensure that you get what you need. They know the law and can help you see your options.

Source: Young People in Recovery, "Higher Education, Criminal Records, and Applying for Financial Aid: How Convictions Affect Eligibility," Doug Rudolph, accessed July 16, 2015

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