The answer to the drug-related conviction question on the FAFSA® is a self-reported data item that is not currently verified through a data-matching system. The question may not be left blank by the applicant.
A student who has been convicted (found guilty) of the possession or sale of a controlled substance (not including alcohol and tobacco) may suffer suspension or loss of Title IV eligibility if the offense occurred during a period of enrollment for which the student was receiving Title IV aid.
The penalty is determined by the type and number of convictions. A student with a previous drug-related conviction is not automatically ineligible for federal financial aid. The drug-related conviction worksheet is designed to help students determine their status.
The answer to the drug-related conviction question is used for the determination of federal student aid only. This data is neither used nor collected by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) when determining eligibility for state-funded programs.
Student Eligibility Worksheet for Question 23
Students who complete their FAFSA online and answer “Yes” to Question 23 will immediately receive a series of questions to determine their eligibility.
Students who complete the paper FAFSA and leave question 23 blank or answer “yes”, will receive a Student Eligibility Worksheet (English or Spanish). A student with a previous drug-related conviction is not automatically ineligible for federal student aid. The applicant’s answers on the Student Eligibility Worksheet for Question 23 may affect eligibility for federal student financial aid.
“1” means your eligibility for federal student aid is not affected by question 23.
“2” means your drug conviction(s) affect eligibility for federal student aid for part of this school year. To receive federal student aid, you need to tell the financial aid office at your college your “eligibility date” from question 11 on this worksheet. You can become eligible earlier in the school year if you complete an acceptable drug rehabilitation program or pass two unannounced drug tests administered by an acceptable drug rehabilitation program. Even if you are not eligible for federal student aid, you may still be eligible for aid from your state or college.
“3” means you are not eligible for federal student aid for this school year unless you complete an acceptable drug rehabilitation program or pass two unannounced drug tests administered by an acceptable drug rehabilitation program. Even if you are not eligible for federal student aid, you may still be eligible for aid from your state or college.
If a student is convicted of possessing or selling drugs after submitting the FAFSA, the student must notify the Financial Aid Office at the postsecondary school immediately. The student will lose eligibility and must pay back all aid that was received after the conviction. Students whose eligibility has been suspended due to drug convictions can resume eligibility if the student passes two unannounced drug tests conducted by a drug rehabilitation program that complies with federal regulations.
If the student has questions or needs help with the Student Eligibility Worksheet for Questions 23, call 1.800.4.FED.AID (1.800.433.3243). Additional guidance regarding Drug-Related Convictions can be found in the FSA Handbook (Application and Verification Guide, Chapter 2).