Chances are, when you become a parent, you expect that your child will sometimes act out, but you probably hope that he or she will get most of that out of his or her system before starting college. Regrettably, though, many teens and young adults experiment with alcohol or drugs once they enter their college years, even though doing so can potentially lead to some very serious consequences.

If law enforcement officers, for example, charge your college student with a drug-related crime and that charge ultimately results in a conviction, your child may lose his or her chance to continue to receive financial aid in the aftermath. This loss of financial aid eligibility can come in addition to a broad range of other penalties, among them fines, fees and possible time behind bars. Also, the loss of access to financial aid can make it substantially harder, or impossible, for your child to continue his or her education.

Virtually all drug crimes matter

Even if authorities find your child in possession of only a small, personal stash of drugs, this could be enough to make your student ineligible for financial aid, at least for some time. Essentially, any type of state or federal drug conviction has the potential to cost you and your child considerably. The length of time you can plan on your child becoming ineligible for aid will depend on the type of drug conviction he or she has and whether he or she is already a drug offender. However, most students who lose financial aid eligibility will find that they become ineligible aid for one year, two years or indefinitely.

Please note, though, that the time of your college student’s arrest is important. Why? For a drug conviction to ultimately result in a loss of financial aid eligibility, your son or daughter must be already utilizing financial aid when authorities place him or her under arrest. If he or she is not already receiving financial aid when placed under arrest, a subsequent conviction should typically not impact his or her ability to receive financial aid.