The college years are synonymous with personal growth and exploration. Many young adults spend at least some of their time at college experimenting romantically and with mind-altering substances. Parties on or near college campuses often have plenty of alcohol available, even for underage attendees. There frequently also have drugs available, ranging from commonly abused prescriptions like Adderall to street drugs.
Although college students like to assume that local law enforcement authorities will turn a permissive eye toward them, many college students get arrested at parties or on their own for drug-related offenses. Those charges can have at least two damaging effects on someone’s educational aspirations.
They may face on-campus discipline
Many colleges have student codes of conduct that specifically prohibit any kind of criminal activity. Local law enforcement authorities often communicate directly with colleges and universities if the student gets convicted of an offense or pleads guilty. If the school learns about a student’s criminal charge, they may face disciplinary actions that could include placing them on academic probation for a semester or even revoking their enrollment. A criminal conviction, rather than a criminal charge, could have a direct negative effect on a student’s chances of remaining enrolled and finishing their degree.
They may lose financial aid
Technically, the federal government no longer permanently eliminates student aid eligibility over drug offenses as it once did. However, many colleges and private financial aid organizations perform background checks and will not grant scholarships or other forms of aid to those with criminal records. Universities offering internal scholarships and private scholarship funds may reject an application or rescind an earlier award after a student’s criminal conviction.
Parents often feel frustrated when a college student’s time at school leads to a drug arrest. Rather than letting them learn the hard way about the severity of their mistake, parents may want to support them in their attempt to defend themselves, as they might otherwise face lasting penalties for what was likely a one-time mistake. Helping college students push back against drug charges can help to minimize the damage youthful errors may have on someone’s future opportunities.