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Can a DUI conviction affect your college financial aid?

Whether you go to school in Alaska or somewhere else, pursuing a bachelor’s degree is a good investment. After all, the median lifetime earnings of a bachelor’s degree holder are approximately $1.28 million.

While your degree is likely to pay off over time, paying for tuition and fees now may be challenging. Fortunately, you may be eligible for government-backed financial aid, private scholarships or college stipends. A conviction or driving under the influence of alcohol may affect these funds in different ways.

Government-backed financial aid

Arguably, the most encouraging news is your DUI conviction is not likely to jeopardize your government-backed grants, loans or work-study funds. In fact, you probably do not even have to disclose your arrest or conviction on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

Private scholarship funds

To determine if your DUI conviction may endanger your private scholarship funds, you must look at the program’s rules. Often, private scholarship organizations have codes of conduct they expect scholarship recipients to follow. If a DUI arrest or conviction violates an applicable code, you may lose your private scholarship dollars.

University stipends

If you play for a college sports team, participate in a student group or otherwise receive a stipend from your university, you must also check the rules of the program. Like with private scholarship organizations, collegiate groups often place restrictions on the conduct of stipend recipients.

Whether you lose your financial aid ultimately may depend on whether your DUI arrest turns into a conviction. Consequently, you may want to prepare yourself to mount a smart and aggressive defense against the DUI charges you are facing.