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If you have plans to send your son or daughter off to college in the fall, you may be spending the summer trying to instill some final words of wisdom and guidance you hope he or she will heed. Unfortunately, however, some kids let loose once they get their first taste of freedom, and in some cases, doing so can have serious consequences.

Receiving a drug conviction, for example, is never good, but it may benefit your child to know that a drug conviction, even if seemingly minor, can lead to a loss of financial aid for a year or more. Pretty much any type of drug conviction can count, from a simple possession crime to a drug sales or an intent to sell conviction.

The deciding factor

Whether you can expect your child to become ineligible for financial aid because of a drug conviction ultimately depends on exactly when authorities placed him or her under arrest. Why? Convictions for charges accrued at a time your child was not currently getting financial aid, such as over the summer months, generally do not affect financial assistance eligibility. Convictions for charges filed during the school year, however, do.

How long you can expect the ineligibility period to last

The length of time you can anticipate your son or daughter losing financial aid on account of a drug conviction will vary based on certain factors. Whether you are a first-time or repeat offender is one of them, and the severity of the drug conviction you received is another. First-time offenders facing simple drug charges may only lose eligibility for a year. Repeat offenders convicted of serious drug crimes, however, can lose financial assistance eligibility indefinitely.

Even if you do not expect your child to dabble in drugs while away at college, it may not hurt to have an open, honest discussion about just how much is potentially on the line.