Students gather at computers in the JWCC Library

Penalties for Drug Law Violations

A federal or state drug conviction can disqualify a student from federal financial aid programs. Convictions apply if they were for an offense that occurred during a period of enrollment for which the student was receiving Title IV federal financial aid; convictions do not count if the offense did not occur during such a period. A conviction that was reversed, set aside, or removed from the student’s record does not count toward federal financial aid eligibility. Furthermore, a conviction received when the student was a juvenile does not apply, unless that student was tried as an adult.

The following table illustrates the period of ineligibility for federal financial aid programs. Note eligibility is dependent upon the nature of the conviction and number of prior offenses:

Possession of Illegal DrugsSale of Drugs
1st Offense1 year from date of conviction2 years from date of conviction
2nd Offense2 years from date of convictionIndefinite period
3 or more OffensesIndefinite

Moreover, those students convicted of both selling and possessing illegal drugs will be subject to ineligibility for the longer period as prescribed under the circumstances.

A student regains eligibility the day after the period of ineligibility ends or when the student successfully completes a qualified drug rehabilitation program. Additional drug convictions will make the student ineligible again for federal financial aid programs.

Students denied eligibility for an indefinite period can regain it only after successfully completing a rehabilitation program (see below). Furthermore, eligibility can be resumed if a conviction is reversed, set aside, or removed from the student’s record so that fewer than two convictions for the sale or three convictions for the possession of illegal drugs remain on the student’s 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 to the College that a qualified drug rehabilitation program has been completed.

For purposes of financial aid eligibility, a qualified drug rehabilitation program must include at least two unannounced drug tests and must satisfy at least one of the following requirements:

  • Be qualified to receive funds directly or indirectly from a federal, state, or local government program;
  • Be qualified to receive payment directly or indirectly from a federally or state-licensed insurance company;
  • Be administered or recognized by a federal, state, or local government agency or court;
  • Be administered or recognized by a federally– or state-licensed hospital, health clinic or medical doctor.

Additional information regarding illegal drug conviction and financial aid eligibility is available on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) website, Report any convictions involving illegal substances on question #23 of the FAFSA. If a student receives a drug conviction while receiving aid at John Wood Community College, the student is required to notify the Financial Aid Office immediately.