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For a number of years, the Common Application, a single form that students can fill out to apply to any college that uses it, required applicants to disclose any arrest, whether or not it resulted in a conviction.  However, the non-profit organization behind the Common App. has announced that, starting in 2019, it will no longer ask students about their criminal history.  Individual institutions may still make these inquiries, and may have different policies about how they use this information in admissions, or whether they share this information about students who are accepted.  To read more, click here.

Even though colleges and universities may not be looking at applicants’ criminal records for the purpose of admissions, the federal government still considers certain criminal convictions – notably, drug offenses, including marijuana possession – when determining eligibility for federal financial aid. For more information about how a drug conviction may affect a student’s FAFSA eligibilty, click here. Many students do not realize that even a non-criminal conviction for a small amount of marijuana may make them ineligible for federal aid for a year or more.  Similarly, certain scholarships and school aid packages are awarded upon conditions that include remaining arrest free.

At Samdperil & Welsh, PLLC, we work with students and their families to minimize the impact of an arrest or conviction on a young person’s college and professional career.  Our lawyers counsel clients about the potential impact of their criminal charges, and can often use alternative sentencing and diversion to the benefit of our younger clients. If we can help, give us a call.