Obtaining a four-year degree has become almost unbelievably expensive in recent years. In fact, you can expect to pay an average of about $10,400 for in-state tuition at a public institution in Georgia. If you want to go to a private college, such as Emory University, you should budget for an annual tuition of more than $53,000.

Fortunately, you may qualify for government-backed loans, grants, work-study funds or other types of student aid. If you have a drug-related conviction on your record, though, you may lose your eligibility for federal financial assistance.

Applying for federal aid

You should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid by your college’s deadline. This application, which asks about your financial situation, helps officials prepare your financial aid package. If you have a conviction for possessing or selling a controlled substance, you must disclose it on your FAFSA.

Losing your financial assistance

If your drug-related conviction occurs when you are already receiving government-backed financial aid, you are likely to lose your financial assistance for one or two years. Multiple convictions may result in a longer suspension or even permanent disqualification. You may also have to repay any funds you received after your drug conviction.

Reinstating your financial aid

You may not have to wait until your financial aid suspension lapses on its own. If you want early reinstatement, you may be able to attend a rehabilitation program or pass a couple surprise drug tests.

Ultimately, because college is expensive, reinstating your financial aid after a drug-associated suspension may help you earn your degree on time.