Obtaining a higher education has become shockingly expensive in recent years. Fortunately, you can probably complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid to gauge your eligibility for government-backed loans, grants and work-study funds.

When you prepare your FAFSA, you must answer some questions about your criminal history. If you have an arrest or conviction for driving under the influence, though, you likely do not have to disclose it on the FAFSA. Therefore, you probably do not have to worry about losing your federal student aid for a standalone DUI conviction.

Drug convictions are different

When officers stop motorists for suspected drunk driving, they sometimes find drugs inside vehicles. If you have a conviction for possessing or selling a controlled substance, you typically must disclose the conviction on your FAFSA.

Unfortunately, drug convictions often trigger a suspension of government-backed financial aid.

Other funds may be in jeopardy

If your DUI does not also involve a drug conviction, you may be able to keep your federal financial aid. That may not be the case with the other types of financial aid you receive, however.

For example, if you collect private scholarship funds, the scholarship program’s code of conduct may require you to stay out of legal trouble. A DUI conviction may violate this obligation.

Consequently, if you are facing DUI charges, you probably want to check the codes of conduct for all private scholarships you receive. You also likely want to defend yourself aggressively to protect your eligibility for all educational funds you currently receive.