The Impact of Drug Offenses on College Admissions

Blischak Law October 24, 2023 Blog,Felony

One of the most exciting times in a recent graduate’s life is to head off to college in the fall and begin a journey of independence. It is a time for learning, meeting diverse people, and starting studies that will often shape career choices for the rest of your life. It encourages growth and development, which is rewarding and even painful at times.

Most students focus on their grades to land admission to the college of their choice, believing that with dedicated studies comes entry to their chosen academic facility. But drug offenses can bring those plans to a screeching halt, changing their lives moving forward in an instant. Being young is a time of exploration and discovery, but some choices, mainly when they are illegal in Arizona and other states, can serve as a stark reminder that making choices viewed as crimes can impact their lives forever.

A Drug Conviction and College Enrollment

Many colleges, particularly those receiving funds from federal government sources, observe federal laws on drugs. While drugs like marijuana may be legal in a state, federal laws may prohibit its use, with any conviction being a reason to refuse admission. Even though laws are changing throughout the country when it comes to marijuana, other drug offenses may be enough to end a college career before it starts.

After admission, most colleges take a strict stance on drug possession on campus and consider the possession to be against the Student Code of Conduct. Complying with this standard, students not only face the discipline of law enforcement, but the college itself will have disciplinary actions in place. Yes, a record of drug conviction is serious, but being removed from college can mean the potential loss of money and the ability to get into another college, inhibiting the ability to earn a degree in a chosen field.

For example, the University of Arizona College of Nursing criminal background check policy states that any misdemeanor conviction related to controlled substances in the past seven years will result in the denial of admission or the dismissal of a student from their program, clinical placement, and the college. While some colleges deal with minor offenses in a less severe manner, more heinous or repetitive offenses can be met with expulsion.

Financial Aid and Drug Offenses

Many students and families can afford the rising cost of college by taking advantage of financial aid services. As of July 1, 2023, the federal government has changed its eligibility requirements for receiving federal aid. Drug convictions will no longer affect the opportunity to receive Pell Grants and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG) or the ability to receive and use Federal Work-Study (FWS) programs. While this decision allows students to access some funding, it is not often enough to cover the entirety of a student’s educational costs, and loans are often necessary.

Many students working to contribute to their college education may find it more challenging to find a job after committing a drug offense. Often, this will depend on the type of offense and the number of crimes on an individual’s record.

Future Impact of Drug Offenses

Drug offenses leading to jail or prison time delay a student’s timely ability to finish an educational program. Additionally, some vocations may restrict individuals who have a criminal history. It often depends on the severity of the charge and if repeat offenses exist.

Even with substances like marijuana becoming more commonplace, drug offenses can change the course of a person’s future. The outlook is not all doom and gloom, and the outcome improves tremendously when an Arizona drug offense lawyer advocates for your rights. Contact Blischak Law Firm today and let us help change your future for the better if you have been charged with a drug offense in Phoenix.