Does a DUI conviction affect college financial aid?

| Jan 5, 2021 | DUI |

Higher education has become almost unconscionably expensive in recent years. In fact, to obtain a four-year degree in Georgia, you can expect to pay an average of nearly $11,000 per year. Luckily, public and private financial aid may be available to help you defray the costs of your education.

While a conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol often includes serious legal penalties, you may also encounter some life consequences. Difficulty paying for college may be one of them.

Federal student aid

The federal government provides loans, grants and work-study funds to many college-bound Georgians. To determine if you qualify for government-backed assistance, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Because the FAFSA does not ask about DUI offenses, a conviction for a simple DUI is not likely to interfere with your eligibility for federal financial assistance.

Private scholarships

The private scholarships you receive may be different. Many scholarship committees require recipients to avoid legal trouble. If a DUI conviction violates the scholarship’s code of conduct, you may lose your scholarship money. Depending on the program’s rules, you may also have to repay any funds you have already received.

Your employability

If you intend to work while you pursue your degree, a DUI conviction may also complicate your plans. For off-campus employment, you may need a driver’s license and clean criminal record. A DUI conviction may cause you both to lose your driving privileges and to fail a background check.

Even worse, a DUI conviction may make it difficult to find gainful employment after you graduate. To decrease your chances of having problems with current or future employability, you may want to mount an aggressive defense to DUI charges.