Question #23 on the FAFSA asks the student if they have been convicted for the possession or sale of illegal drugs for an offense that occurred while receiving federal student aid (such as grants, loans, or work study). Students who answer yes will be sent a worksheet from the Department of Education. Students who are unsure how to answer the question can call 1-800-433-3243 for assistance.
Students may also become ineligible through the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 that includes provisions that authorize federal and state judges to deny certain federal benefits, including federal student aid, to persons convicted of drug trafficking or possession. The Central Processing System (CPS) maintains a hold file of those who have received such a judgment, and it checks applicants against that file to determine if they should be denied aid. This is separate from the check for a drug conviction via question #23; confirmation of a student in the drug abuse hold file will produce a rejected application.