I recently received an email asking me to explain the regulations governing eligibility for Pell Grants for individuals convicted of felony drug charges. First, you can be eligible for Pell grant if you have a prior felony drug conviction. However, it depends on the type of drug conviction, the date of the conviction, if the conviction occurred while receiving Pell grant aid, and whether you have successfully completed a certified drug rehab program. Here are some basic rules:
- If you were convicted of possession of illegal drugs for the first time, you won’t be eligible for federal aid until at least one year since your conviction.
- If you were convicted for selling for the first time, you won’t be eligible for federal aid for at least two years from the date of your conviction.
- If you have more than one offense for selling or more than two offenses for possession, you can only regain eligibility after you complete an approved rehabilitation program.
My advice would be to fill out the 2011-2012 Student Aid Eligibility Worksheet for Question 23 to access eligibility.