Federal Student Aid Penalties for Drug Law Violations
Under 20 USC 1092(k), schools have been required to provide a notice in a timely manner to each student who has lost eligibility for any Title IV aid as a result of the penalties listed under 20 USC 1091(r) for the suspension of Title IV eligibility due to drug convictions while enrolled and receiving Title IV aid.
This notice has been to inform the student of the loss of Title IV eligibility and to advise the student of the ways in which the student could regain eligibility.
A federal or state drug conviction can disqualify a student for Federal Student Aid (SFA) funds if the occurrence happens while enrolled and receiving Title IV aid as prompted by question 23 on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Convictions do not count if charges were reversed, set aside, or removed from the student's record.
The chart below illustrates the period of ineligibility for FSA funds, depending on whether the conviction was for sale or possession and whether the student had previous offenses. (A conviction for sale of drugs includes convictions for conspiring to sell drugs.)
|Possession of Illegal Drugs||Sale of Illegal Drugs|
|1st Offense||1 year from date of conviction||2 years from date of conviction|
|2nd Offense||2 years from date of conviction||Indefinite Period|
|3rd Offense||Indefinite Period||Indefinite Period|
If the student was convicted of both possessing and selling illegal drugs, and the periods of ineligibility are different, the student will be ineligible for the longer period.
The University of Kentucky will provide any student who becomes ineligible for Title IV aid due to a drug conviction a clear and conspicuous written notice of his loss of eligibility and the methods whereby he can become eligible again.
A student regains eligibility the day after the period of ineligibility ends or when he successfully completes a qualified drug rehabilitation program or passes two unannounced drug tests given by such a program. Further drug convictions will make the student ineligible again.
Students denied eligibility for an indefinite period can regain it after successfully completing rehabilitation program (as described below), passing two unannounced drug tests from such a program, or if a conviction is reversed, set aside, or removed from the student's record so that fewer than two convictions for sale or three convictions for possession remain on the record. In such cases, the nature and dates of the remaining convictions will determine when the student regains eligibility. It is the student's responsibility to certify that the student has successfully completed the rehabilitation program.
The FAFSA Simplification Act (Title VII of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, CAA) repeals the disclosure requirement for the Notice of Federal Student Financial Aid Penalties for Drug Law Violations in 20 USC 1092(k), effective July 1, 2023 with the 2023-24 award year.
Although the U.S. Department of Education (ED) has no yet authorized this repeal for early implementation, schools have been given the authority to update this notice to provide the following information:
- ED has rescinded the student eligibility requirement and that the student no longer faces penalties or suspension of Title IV aid due to a drug conviction that occurred while the student was enrolled and receiving Title IV aid; and
- While the information must still be provided, the loss of federal student aid for drug convictions no longer applies.