Answering the "Drug Question"
The financial aid community has
expressed concerns about the difficulty involved in answering question 28 (q28), the question concerning drug convictions, on the 2000-2001 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The questions arise for students who have one or more drug convictions. Depending on the date, number, and type of conviction(s), such students may become eligible for
Title IV aid at a later time.
In response to community concerns, the Department of Education (ED) recently published Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) GEN-99-39 in order to highlight a worksheet that helps students and financial aid administrators correctly answer q28. The worksheet explains the codes that can be used to answer q28, acceptable drug rehabilitation program requirements, and that juvenile convictions and convictions removed from a student's record do not count when answering q28.
A student can answer q28 with code "1," "2," or "3."
- Code "1" means that the student is eligible in regard to drug convictions
for federal student aid.
- Code "2" means that the student will regain eligibility during the award year.
- Code "3" means that the student will be ineligible for the entire award year.
The DCL explains that the worksheet information is available in several formats: on the web at http://fafsaws2.fafsa.ed.gov/fotw0001/q28wksht.htm#Page1, by telephone at 1-800-4FED-AID, and on paper. The online worksheet is interactive, leading students through a series of simple questions. A similar version is embedded in the FAFSA on the Web. The telephone format gives the student the option of talking to an operator or using an interactive voice response unit (IVRU).(At the time of printing ED has not made the IVRU format available.) Both the web and telephone versions calculate an eligibility date for the student, if applicable. The paper worksheet can be downloaded in portable document format (PDF) from the above-mentioned website, and it is mailed to students who do not answer q28 or who answer with codes "2" or "3." Students with convictions for both possession and sale cannot use the paper worksheet and are instructed to call the 1-800 number.
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