Can drug charges affect your financial aid eligibility?

The short answer is no.

According to StudentAid.gov, drug convictions no longer affect aid eligibility. Read further, however, because there are some considerations to think about.

The FAFSA will still ask you if you have a drug conviction

If you answer yes (always answer truthfully!) it will require you to complete a separate worksheet. It is important to complete the worksheet because the agency may reject an application that is incomplete for any reason. When you complete the worksheet, the federal government will not deny your aid for this reason.

Only report convictions from the time you were receiving aid

Any drug conviction you received while not receiving aid does not matter in this context. The government really only wants to make sure that you are a responsible borrower and will be able to repay the loan they give you. Convictions, while you were in nonstudent status, are irrelevant. Only report what is necessary.

Parole and probation do not affect your eligibility

Living in a halfway house, out on bail, on parole or completing probation does not preclude you from aid. However, if you are involuntarily committed to a civil facility because of a sexual offense, your aid application may be in jeopardy.

If you are in jail or prison, you have limited aid eligibility

Inmates cannot receive a federal Pell grant or federal student loan. If your release date is soon, however, and the aid deadline is approaching, go ahead and apply. Submit your application so that the agency can finalize it after your release and before you start your semester.