Your college years are often your first time experiencing the freedom that comes with being an adult, but as a young adult, you may have made some mistakes along the way. You should be aware that if you are a college student and you are convicted of a crime it can negatively affect your federal financial aid, and thus your ability to pay for college.
If you are in a federal prison or state jail
If you are currently in a federal prison or state jail, you are ineligible for Federal Pell Grants and federal student loans.
You may be eligible for a Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant or Federal Work-Study. However, the priority for these programs is first given to those receiving Pell Grants, which you are ineligible for.
Moreover, if you are incarcerated it is impossible to work on campus in a work-study position.
After you are released from federal prison or state jail
After you are released from federal prison or state jail, you may be eligible for financial aid once more, but with some exceptions for certain offenses such as sexual offenses. If you were convicted of a forcible or nonforcible sex crime and you are subject to involuntary civil commitment upon your release from prison, you are ineligible for a Pell Grant.
It is important to note that being convicted of a drug crime likely will not negatively affect your eligibility for federal student aid. You may need to disclose the conviction on your application for federal student aid but doing so will not count against you.
College students are only human, and many will make mistakes as they grow as adults. Still, as a college student in Florida you will want to be aware how a criminal conviction can affect your federal student aid, especially if you depend on such aid to afford your tuition and other school expenses.
If you are currently facing criminal charges and are concerned about how a conviction will affect your future, you can discuss these concerns with a legal professional.