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Do you have to disclose your drug conviction on the FAFSA?

If you want to compete for means-tested federal financial aid, you have probably already begun to prepare the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. After all, according to the U.S. Department of Education, these applications are due on June 30. Your college or university may have earlier filing deadlines, however.

Fortunately, you no longer have to worry about missing out on subsidized loans, grants or work-study funds because of a drug conviction. Unlike in the past, these convictions do not render you ineligible for federal financial aid. Nevertheless, you still must tell DOE officials about your conviction.

The FAFSA asks about convictions

If you have pleaded guilty to a drug-related offense or otherwise have a conviction in your past, you probably have to disclose the matter on your FAFSA. In fact, a section of the form specifically addresses criminal convictions. It is critical to be honest and forthcoming when you are preparing your FAFSA, as providing false or misleading information may lead to potentially serious consequences.

You may have to complete an extra worksheet

When applicants disclose convictions, the FAFSA automatically generates a supplemental worksheet. This worksheet, which should not take too long to complete, asks you to provide additional details about your conviction. Like with the main form, it is vital to provide complete and truthful answers on any supplemental worksheets.

After submitting your completed FAFSA, you should receive a prompt response from the DOE. Ultimately, because the DOE does not consider drug convictions when deciding who is eligible for federal financial aid, the work you put into properly preparing the form is likely to pay off.