Many young people attending college for the first time wind up experimenting. However, if your son or daughter experiments with illegal substances and authorities catch him or her doing so, it may mean the end of financial aid.

Per Federal Student Aid, a drug conviction jeopardizes your child’s financial aid eligibility if authorities arrest your son or daughter while he or she is already receiving federal financial aid. Many people argue that penalizing college students by making it tougher for them to continue their education is an ineffective form of punishment, . While some are working to change this, for now, the rule remains.

Recognizing what convictions count

A drug conviction of any type has the potential to make your college student ineligible for financial aid for a year or more. More serious drug charges, such as drug sales or trafficking charges, often lead to longer periods of ineligibility than lesser charges. The length of your student’s ineligibility period also depends on the seriousness of the drug crime, among other factors.

Regaining aid eligibility

If a drug conviction does result in the loss of your child’s financial aid, he or she may be able to become eligible again by doing one of two things. Your child could enter and complete an approved drug rehabilitation to regain eligibility. Conversely, or she could pass two random drug tests administered through an approved rehabilitation program.

If your child completes rehab or passes two random drug tests, it is up to you or your child to inform the financial aid office so that your student may receive financial aid again.