The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA) requires schools participating in Federal student aid programs to provide to every student upon enrollment a separate, clear and conspicuous written note with information on the penalties associated with drug-related offenses.
A student who had been convicted of any offense under Federal or state law involving the possession or sale of a controlled substance shall not be eligible to receive any grant, loan or work assistance (Federal aid) during the period beginning on the date of conviction and ending after the specified interval period as outlined in the following:
For Possession of a controlled substance, ineligibility period is:
First offense: 1 year from date of conviction
Second offense: 2 years from date of conviction
Third offense: Indefinite period
For Sale of a controlled substance, ineligibility period is:
First offense: 2 years
Second offense: Indefinite period
Note that if the student was convicted of both possessing and selling illegal drugs, and the periods of ineligibility are different, the student will be ineligible for the longer period.
A student regains eligibility the day after the period of ineligibility ends or when they successfully complete a qualified drug rehabilitation program that includes passing two unannounced drug tests given by such a program. Further drug convictions will make them ineligible again.
Students denied eligibility for an indefinite period can regain it, either after successfully completing a rehabilitation program, which includes passing two unannounced drug tests from such a program, or if a conviction is reversed, set aside, or removed from the student’s record so that fewer than two convictions for sale or three convictions for possession remain on the 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 that they have successfully completed the rehabilitation program.