For many young adults, getting into college may seem like an achievement in and of itself. However, quite a few people have to work hard to find ways to pay for college, and many students who start don’t finish.

Some aspiring collegiates will drop out because of the academically-rigorous requirements of higher education. Others will have no choice but to set aside their desire for a degree when they wind up facing criminal charges.

College can present opportunities to get in trouble

For many students, their time in college is when they learn about themselves by experimenting with drugs and alcohol, pursuing brief romantic relationships and generally making as many mistakes as possible. Learning from those mistakes and experiments can help turn a young adult into a responsible and contributing member of society.

Although college can be a time of social experimentation and personal growth, drinking, drugs and intense interpersonal interactions can all potentially result in criminal charges. College students may have disproportionately more serious consequences when compared with the average young adults if they get arrested and charged with a crime.

A conviction can affect your enrollment

Depending on the school and program that you enrolled in, there may be specific behavioral requirements or restrictions that affect your ability to enroll. Some colleges have student handbooks that forbid any kind of criminal activity, while others have more vague policies that may require a hearing for those convicted of a crime.

Some schools will end their in-house financial aid for a student with a criminal conviction, while others may rescind their offer of enrollment for that student, end their eligibility for athletics or even require that a student find off-campus housing in order to remain enrolled.

Criminal convictions can affect scholarships and other financial aid

Paying for college is a massive challenge for many young adults. Scholarship, subsidized loans, grants and work-study programs to help make college tuition a feasible expenditure for many people enrolled in college.

Unfortunately, many kinds of convictions, including drug convictions, can prevent someone from receiving federal student aid, sometimes indefinitely. Defending yourself against allegations now will protect your enrollment in college and your ability to pay for your education.