Higher education plays a crucial role in how American students compete in today’s global economy. While not everyone needs a college degree to compete for the best jobs, research continually shows that those with a degree earn more on average than those who lack higher education. For those with a criminal conviction, however, many doors in society remain closed. What about in college, however? Can a criminal conviction affect your ability to get student loans?

Criminal Convictions and Student Loans

Federal student loans help make higher education a reality for millions of students across America each year. While eligibility for federal loans is kept reasonably open, to provide the best possible chance to seek education, there are certain convictions which may keep a student from qualify for federal assistance.

Drug Convictions and Federal Student Loans

criminal conviction

Those who have a conviction for a drug-related offense on their criminal record cannot receive federal student loans or grants unless they meet particular terms. When a student completes the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), they are required to disclose if they have a drug conviction on their record. Those with a felony conviction cannot receive any federal aid, while those with lesser charges may receive grants, loans and work-study, provided they regain eligibility through either the completion of an approved drug rehabilitation program or passing two unannounced drug tests by an approved drug rehab program.

Sex Crime Convictions and Federal Student Loans

Those students who have a conviction for a sexual offense on their criminal record are also disqualified from receiving federal student loans and grants. Students with a sentence for either forcible or nonforcible sex crimes that involve imprisonment, probation, or both cannot receive federal Pell Grants or other financial aid packages after the end of their sentence completion. Also, many private loan companies and schools are especially wary of those who have a sexual offense on their criminal record, as they pose a potentially significant risk to other students.

A Criminal Defense Attorney Can Protect Your Financial Aid Rights

Because of the severe nature of both drug and sexual offenses, as well as the impact they can have on a student’s ability to pay for college, if you face charges, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. An expert defense attorney can help you protect your rights, and you access to financial aid. If possible, an experienced criminal defense attorney may also be able to help you seal or expunge your criminal conviction, meaning you can qualify for federal financial aid.

Call Miami’s premier criminal defense firm – Piotrowski Law. Chad Piotrowski has an extensive background in aggressively defending his clients from charges ranging from DUIs and marijuana possession to armed drug trafficking and murder.  If you are looking for an experienced legal defense lawyer who will fight tirelessly for you, call the Law Offices of Chad Piotrowski today at 1 (305) 204-5000 for your free consultation.