Criminal charges can affect some people far more than others. College students are some of the most vulnerable people when it comes to the impact of a charge on their life and their future. If you are a student or the parent of a college student, you probably already feel worried about what pending drug charges might mean for the future.
For many people, avoiding jail or fines is the primary concern. Plea bargains and other arrangements can eliminate the worst consequences people face, but they aren’t always a good choice for college students. Even a plea bargain drug conviction could have three distinct adverse effects on college students.
Any conviction could endanger your enrollment
Getting into a good college is a challenge, but so is staying enrolled at that school. If your grades slip, you don’t attend class or you no longer meet certain enrollment criteria, you may not be able to come back for the next semester.
Some schools have zero-tolerance policies for students convicted of criminal offenses while enrolled. Other schools have hardline no-drug policies that could affect your enrollment options even years after the conviction.
Criminal charges could cost you school or private financial aid
Scholarships are critical to many people’s ability to afford college tuition. Much like schools, private organizations that grant scholarships often attach certain criteria to receiving those funds.
A drug conviction might make you ineligible for any future financial aid. Your criminal charges could affect scholarships you won by applying through private or non-profit organizations, as well as scholarships from your school or its honors programs.
Drug charges can affect federal student aid as well
Reform efforts might change the impact of a drug charge for students. However, drug crimes are currently among the list of offenses that can end a student’s ability to receive federal financial aid. In some cases, a conviction while receiving federal aid might also require that a student repay what they already received.
Fighting criminal charges with a thorough defense can help reduce the long-term impact of the youthful mistake or misunderstanding on the future of someone with professional aspirations.