There are some common mistakes that college students make as they become more comfortable with life on campus and seek to test the limits of propriety. Errors in judgment regarding drinking, assault and theft can result in penalties that can influence the student's life after college. Some repercussions of breaking the law may be temporary and easily discharged by paying a fee. The impact of other convictions can be felt years down the line.
Such is the case with a marijuana possession charge. Students attempting to blow off a little steam by toking up may find that their source of temporary stress relief creates more long-term anxiety if they are charged with possession. While the penalties can include serving jail time, paying a fine and suspension of a driver's license, there are other punishments connected with this offense.
Students receiving aid to attend college imperil their college careers when they choose to smoke pot. Federal law prohibits students from receiving federal loans if the student receives a drug charge while enrolled in school.
After its amendment, the Higher Education Act established penalties for those convicted of "any offense" relating to the possession or sale of drugs. "Any offense" includes a misdemeanor charge. What this means for students is that if they accept a misdemeanor plea for drug possession in court, this charge will prevent them from continuing to receive their school loan.
This is an abbreviated explanation of how the law relates to students:
1. Loans prohibited
Students receiving aid through federal work study programs, grants or loans will lose access to these funds. Private loans are not regulated by this law, and neither are university scholarships. Aid extended through private financiers or educational institutions may be contingent upon obeying student codes of conduct, however.
2. Academic institutions regulated
Students receiving federal loans to attend any post-secondary institution will lose funding. Loan prohibition covers students attending private or public colleges, four-year universities or two-year community colleges, in-state or out-of-state schools.
3. Length of suspension
The suspension of student loans is temporary. Upon receiving a first conviction, the student will not be able to access funds for one year. Subsequent convictions will lengthen the time of the loan suspension. Students receiving three drug convictions while enrolled in school and receiving federal loans may not be able eligible to reapply for a federal loan.
Although many states are relaxing their stance on drug possession, the federal government isn't. Those attending school with government aid should know of the penalties attached to marijuana charges. Repercussions for a marijuana possession charge will last long after the buzz fades.