After doing time, criminal charges should be water under the bridge. But hell no. You’d discover the stream of challenges just when you set out to reintegrate with society. Felons face a wide range of difficulties as they step out of the bars.
Thankfully, there are felon-friendly resources that help simplify and facilitate this rehabilitation and reintegration process. One of such offers is college grants for felons.
Federal Students Financial Aid
Many students benefit from federal grants and loans annually. These financial supports aim at helping students with their tuition, books, and even housing costs during their study period. This is particularly designed for students with low income or unemployed.
Sadly, some students with criminal backgrounds are ineligible for such federal loans and grants. Persons with records of misdemeanor, felon, or any drug-related offense cannot benefit from financial aid. However, other forms of a felony may qualify for federal loans and grants
There are some limitations also for those who wish to study in jail. Students in federal and states schools are automatically disqualified for loans and grants. However, they can obtain federal supplemental grants – but only for non-drug offenses.
Read more: Business Grants for Felons
How Can One Apply for College Grants for Felons?
For ex-convicts, here are some helpful tips to help you secure a college grant or student loans for felons.
- Talk to your Parole Agent About your study plans
Discuss your plans with your parole agent – they’ll likely have information on both common and specialized financial aid schemes for felons. You may still be eligible for financial assistance even after the completion of your parole.
- Choosing an Institution
It is noteworthy that some colleges may deny you admission – based on your criminal charges. During application, it is ideal and recommended to include any prove of change or reform that has occurred after you left prison.
Evidence of rehabilitation or restitution, for instance, may boost your chances of being admitted into some colleges.
- Arrange to Meet with the Financial Aid Officer
Schedule to meet with the financial aid office of the college you got accepted into. The officer will give you both federal and state forms to file your financial aid request.
- Completing FAFSA
FAFSA is short for Free Application for Student Aid. This form is used by several scholarships – state and private alike. Applicants can either print out the form and fill by hand or complete the form online. You will likely find these forms at financial aid offices. So consult the financial aid personnel on the most appropriate way to complete the form.
- Visit the local library and your college.
You can find reference works for grants or scholarships for college at your college or local library. You may also obtain relevant information from the Federal Student Aid official website. The scholarship wizard will offer you any information you seek.
Typically, scholarship for private institutions has their unique requirements, depending on a range of factors. Your felony status may not disqualify you from applying for this study aid.
Before you commence classes, discuss with anyone who has had experience with the challenges felons usually face.
Would Drug Convictions Hinder One’s Chances of a Federal Student Aid?
Of course, it could. You may have your eligibility suspended if the said crime happened while benefiting from your financial aid – loan, grants, or work-study.
While completing the FAFSA form, you’d be mad to state if you were involved in any drug-related convictions during the period of federal student support.
If your student aid eligibility got suspended for any drug-related charges, you might recover it on completion of a certified drug rehabilitation scheme or by scaling through two consecutive spontaneous drug tests carried out by a certified drug rehabilitation scheme.
If you are lucky to get back your eligibility in the award year, inform the financial aid personnel right away to enable you to take advantage of available aids.
You may lose your federal student aid eligibility If any drug offense occurs after completion of your FAFSA form. Worse still, you may be required to refund all aids received during your ineligibility period.
Your past criminal records can dampen your chances of getting a house, job, and even pursuing a degree. Although a criminal record may increase the odds of getting financial aid through school, a handful of institutions may be willing to offer you study support.
While completing your form, be honest. Also, do well to consult admission counselors if you are asked to tender documents. This might increase the felons’ chance of securing college acceptance.
Financial Aid Eligibility For Felons
There’s a widespread misconception that all felons are ineligible for federal financial aids. This myth has made a lot of eligible students miss out on college grants for felons.
Here’s a quick look at some requirements that make you eligible for a federal student aid
- Must be a United States Citizen – or an eligible non-citizen
- Must meet Selective Service registration requirement – if specified
- Must own a Social Security number –excepting persons from the Palau Republic, Federated States of Micronesia, or Republic of the Marshal Islands.
- Must have a General Education Development Certificate, high school diploma, or must have undertaken a certified ability-to-benefit assessment.
- Accepted for admission or admitted into a degree or certificate program at a federal student aid subscribed school.
- No overdue loan repayment or default on a federal grant/loan refund.
- Must have proof of financial incapability.
- No records of drug convictions
Are you a felon who wishes to get a new start with a college degree? While this is possible, it is imperative to know what is obtainable – and what’s not –with your felony record. Felons who seek a college degree face a huge challenge. Albeit, there is a range of opportunities for you to get accepted into college.
Read also: Small Business Loan for Felons
Go over the steps above to increase your chances of getting accepted by a college and getting financial aid – even with your felony convictions.
Robert Gomez was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. He currently lives in Northern California with “the wifey,” “the kids,” “the dog,” and “that cat,” 🙁 He is also a former journalist who has interviewed murderers on death row. Felonyfriendlyjobs.org was born to help ex-felons get a second chance in life.