University of South Carolina

Financial Aid & Scholarships


Federal Student Financial Aid Penalties for Drug Law Violations

The Higher Education Act (HEA) of 1965 as amended suspends aid eligibility for students who have been convicted under federal or state law of the sale or possession of drugs if the offense occurred during a period of enrollment for which the student was receiving federal student aid (grants, loans, and/or work-study). If you have a conviction(s) for these offenses, call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) or complete the Student Aid Eligibility Worksheet for (FAFSA) Question 23 available at IFAP (PDF) to find out how this law applies to you.

If you have lost federal student aid eligibility due to a drug conviction, you can regain eligibility if you pass two unannounced drug tests conducted by a drug rehabilitation program that complies with criteria established by the U.S. Department of Education.

Even if you are ineligible for federal aid, you should complete the FAFSA because you may be eligible for non-federal aid from states and private institutions. If you regain eligibility during the award year, notify your financial aid administrator immediately. If you are convicted of a drug-related offense after you submit the FAFSA, you might lose eligibility for federal student aid, and you might be liable for returning any financial aid you received during a period of ineligibility.