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Understanding Drug Violations & Consequences to Federal Aid

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)'s Question 23 asks if you have ever been convicted of a drug related offense. Failure to answer this question will automatically disqualify you from receiving Federal aid. Falsely answering this question, if discovered, could result in fines up to $20,000, imprisonment, or both.

Conviction for possession of illegal drugs

For possession of illegal drugs, the impact to your financial aid eligibility is:

  • First Offense: Ineligible to receive aid for 1 year from the date of conviction
  • Second Offense: Ineligible to receive aid for 2 years from the date of conviction
  • Third and Subsequent Offenses: Indefinite ineligibility from the date of conviction


Conviction for sale of illegal drugs

For sale of illegal drugs, the impact to your financial aid eligibility is:

  • First Offense: Ineligible to receive aid for 2 years from the date of conviction
  • Second and Subsequent Offenses: Indefinite ineligibility from the date of conviction

Conviction for possession and sale of illegal drugs

If convicted of both possessing and selling drugs, you will be ineligible for the longer of the time periods previously indicated.

Convictions that do not count

Unless tried as an adult, convictions received while a juvenile are not considered, nor are convictions that are reversed, set aside, or removed from your record.

How to regain eligibility

You can regain eligibility for federal student aid funds early by one of two methods: 

Successfully complete an approved drug rehabilitation program (recognized as a Federal, State, or local government agency program). OR
Pass two unannounced drug tests administered by an approved drug rehabilitation program (recognized as a Federal, State, or local government agency program).

You will regain eligibility on the date of successfully completing the program.

Convictions During Enrollment

According to the United States Department of Education, if you are convicted of a drug offense after receiving Federal aid, you must notify the Financial Aid Department immediately and you will be ineligible for further aid and required to pay back all aid received after the conviction.

A federal or state drug conviction for possession, sale, or conspiring to sell illegal drugs can affect your eligibility to receive federal student financial aid (including loans, grants, and work study).

If the offense occurs while you are receiving federal student financial aid, you will lose eligibility for federal student aid for a certain time period, depending on the conviction and whether you have previous convictions.

Drug and Alcohol Policy at CSULB

CSULB’s policies on alcohol, drugs and tobacco can be found on the CSULB Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs (ATOD) website under Campus ATOD Policies.