Q:

Are there financial aid grants for convicted felons?

A:

There are some financial aid grants for convicted felons; however, if a felon is convicted of a drug- or sex-related offense, his access to grant money may be limited, or he may be ineligible altogether. In addition, incarcerated inmates have limited eligibility for federal student aid, although these limitations may be lifted after the individual is released from prison.

Individuals on parole or probation or who are living in halfway houses may be eligible for student aid. However, the U.S. Department of Education notes that if the applicant for aid was convicted of an offense related to drugs or was subject to incarceration for a sexual offense, aid may not be available.

Eligibility for student aid from the federal government is usually suspended if the student commits a drug-related offense while receiving student aid. Still, this suspension may be lifted if the applicant completes an approved drug rehab program or passes two unannounced drug screenings that are administered by a drug rehab program. Notably, students who are convicted of drug-related offenses after submitting an application for aid may be required to repay any funds they received.

Some types of aid are unavailable to felons who have been convicted of sexual offenses. For instance, a federal Pell grant is not available after a conviction of a sexual offense, whether forcible or nonforcible.

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