Those who have been convicted of felonies and misdemeanors and have
served their time often question their future. In today's world a
future of success usually requires a college education, but education
requires money. Scholarships and student loans are available for most
individuals looking for a college degree, but what about those with a
Private loans are available for nearly anyone needing financial assistance. In nearly every case, those with drug convictions are not eligible for government assistance and some loans. Most felonies do not hinder students from acquiring education, but sometimes felonies in a related field can cause problems for an individual.
Lists of college scholarships can be found in library books and online. Getting a job in the meantime is a good start for applications. For most students, beginning education at a community college is the cheapest way to get an education. Many community colleges have night classes and can help with working around schedules.
FAFSA is another road to take but can only be taken by the few. Those with past convictions of possessing or selling illegal substances or those with convictions still on their records are not eligible to apply for grants and scholarships through FAFSA. Convictions must be removed before applying. Pell Grants and Stafford Loans are also available through FAFSA. Some colleges even use FAFSA to determine state, local, and school-related scholarships and grants
Financial Aid Officers
Much of the time schools require new students to make appointments with financial aid officers. These officers can help when deciding which scholarships are available and which are not. They are also able to point out both local and state grants and scholarships in specific areas. However each state has different laws about past felonies and eligibility, so speaking to a financial aid officer can help sort out the right financial path to take.
FAFSA forms should be filled out regardless of current status as some scholarships require the form even if the scholarship is not through FAFSA. A financial aid officer can help determine which scholarships require this form. As long as a past felony was not related to drugs, a convicted felon is eligible to apply for loans and financial aid like any other college student
Those looking for financial aid must meet a list of requirements under federal law. These include being a US citizen or an eligible non-citizen, having a valid Social Security Number -- which does not include the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of Palau -- being registered with Selective Service for males between eighteen- and twenty-five-years-old, having a high school diploma or a General Education Development Certificate or having passed an approved exam by the US Department of Education, and being enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a student who is working towards a degree or certificate in a program through a school that is eligible for financial aid programs.
All of these are necessary before applying for financial aid as well as a non-drug-related conviction while receiving federal student aids, including loans, work-study, and grants.