With the advent of the new school year, university and college campuses across North Carolina are humming with activity. For many students, the first interaction with roommates, teachers and course load is exhilarating. Encouraging this sense of euphoria can be the initial light college workload, which doesn’t accumulate when students begin attending classes. While this sense of excitement typically pervades the college atmosphere until the first round of midterms, your college children will do best to fill their free time engaging in activities other than doing drugs.
Contrary to popular misconception, individuals convicted for a drug misdemeanor for “just a little weed” aren’t given a slap on the wrist. Although a misdemeanor is not felony, the impact of this conviction can continue to be felt throughout an individual’s life. Housing, employment and educational opportunities are limited when a misdemeanor drug charge is recorded on a criminal file. If your college student is convicted of possessing or conspiring to sell drugs, her status as a college student could be immediately suspended due to a federal law that denies federal loans to students with drug convictions. It doesn’t matter if your child is attending college in another state. If she has received federal loans, grants or work-study benefits, the aid will be halted.
While the conviction may initially stop the student aid, this does not mean that your child will never qualify for support in the future, however. The period of ineligibility for receiving federal student aid depends on two factors: the type and number of offenses committed. First-time offenders generally wait less time to have their aid reinstated than do individuals with multiple convictions. It is also possible to qualify for an early reinstatement student aid by enrolling in approved drug rehab programs or by passing unannounced drug tests.
If you have been following our blog, you are familiar with such first-time offender programs. You may not have known that these programs that can help your child clear her criminal record can also help her become eligible to receive student aid. There are many options available to those struggling with the repercussions of a short-sighted decision to engage in drug use; knowledgeable attorneys have experience accessing those options. A one-time mistake should not limit your child’s educational opportunities.