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Could underage drinking charges cost you your scholarship?

There’s no question that underage drinking charges can have a profound impact on your future. Not only are your rights at stake but so, too, are your educational opportunities.

The penalties for a conviction can extend beyond probation, potential jail time, fines and loss of your driver’s license. You could also stand to lose your scholarship.

Many privately funded college scholarships – both academic and athletic – are conditioned on your good behavior. Most types of government financial aid have similar provisions. The more serious the charges, the more likely that your scholarship is in jeopardy.

So how can you keep your financial aid?

The reality is that it depends. When you’re facing alcohol-related charges, you should work with a lawyer who understands college disciplinary proceedings. Your lawyer can take a close look at your scholarship and financial aid packages to determine how they will be affected.

You may have options for limiting the damage to your reputation, education and future. For example:

  • You might be able to get the charges dropped or reduced. An experienced attorney can identify weaknesses in the state’s case that work to your advantage.
  • If you’re between ages 17 and 20, you might qualify for an Alcohol Education Program (AEP) that can eventually keep the charges off your record. However, those facing DUI charges can’t benefit from this program.
  • You might be able to reinstate your scholarship after a certain period of time. A lot depends on the terms of your particular scholarship or grant.

Everybody makes mistakes. Fortunately, with the right legal help, a brush with the law might not have to cost you your scholarship.


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