Criminal charges should never be taken lightly. If you’re convicted of a crime, you will have a criminal record, and that can impact your life in countless ways long after any immediate penalties are behind you.
Criminal convictions have a specific negative effect on opportunities for higher education. If you are now a student or hoping to pursue more education in the future, a criminal conviction on your record can have many life-altering consequences you may not have previously considered.
Continue reading to better understand some of the ways a criminal record can impact your higher education, and what you can do about it:
- A criminal record can impact your ability to get into some colleges and universities. According to Criminal Watchdog, 66.4% of colleges collect criminal background information on at least some of their applicants. Depending on the extent of your criminal history, you may have difficulty pursuing a diploma. According to U.S. News, violent crimes and sexual offenses are the type of crime most likely to prevent applicants from being accepted by a college.
- A criminal record can make it harder or even impossible to enroll in certain courses or programs leading to a degree. Depending on your conviction, you might not be able to enroll in programs that prepare you for jobs working with children, vulnerable adults, and other groups. Even if you can enroll, a criminal record will often prevent you from using your degree in a related career.
- A criminal record can impact your chances to qualify for financial aid, grants, and scholarships. It can hinder your ability to take out a student loan. According to Federal Student Aid, you cannot qualify for a Federal Pell Grant if you are incarcerated in a state or federal correctional institution. Even after your release, it can be difficult to qualify for benefits such as student loans and federal grants if your crime falls into certain categories, including sexual and drug-related crimes. In most cases you will not be able to get federal student aid once on probation or parole if your offenses were sexual or drug-related. See Federal Student Aid. Private student loans can be difficult to secure even if you’ve only been convicted of a less severe misdemeanor.
- A criminal record can make it difficult or impossible to qualify for student housing. A criminal record can complicate your ability to qualify for student housing and this can even lead to applications getting immediately rejected.
- A criminal record can impact the kind of job, salary, and work experience you will have after graduation. Students with criminal histories may face barriers in completing required internships, teaching hours, or laboratory work. This particularly impacts medical and nursing graduate programs that require supervised clinical hours.
Students with criminal convictions need to be wary of professional programs that accept students with criminal backgrounds knowing that those students won’t be able to join the profession. Students should keep in mind that admission to an advanced education program doesn’t guarantee acceptance into the corresponding profession. See Online Paralegal
Some career paths will be closed to people convicted of felonies or misdemeanor offenses. For example, attorneys are required to pass a character and fitness assessment before becoming licensed as a lawyer. See National Jurist. Prospective law students are reminded that some criminal offenses, such as a violent crime, may prevent a law school graduate from being allowed to practice law. However, a few exceptions have infrequently been recognized, but don’t count on being the exception. A lawyer of your own will be required to accomplish this and a petition to the State Supreme Court will likely be necessary.
Medical professionals with misdemeanors related to the mistreatment of vulnerable populations or misuse of drugs may have trouble obtaining the necessary licenses for their careers. Other fields like teaching, accounting and policing can also be difficult for people with criminal records to join and in Florida, a review is expected every five years.
What If You’re Already in School and Are Convicted of a Crime?
What happens next depends on the type and severity of the crime of which you are convicted, and the college or university you are attending. Contacting a criminal defense attorney can help in making your next step and an informed one.
How Can You Save Your Future?
Do you have criminal charges threatening to impact your future and restrict your educational and professional opportunities? Act now to protect yourself! Work with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Orlando, FL to get your charges reduced, dropped or expunged. Taking initiative now is an investment that can open up your future opportunities. The Law Office of Donald A. Lykkebak works throughout the Orlando and Winter Park areas and can fight your case today. Getting legal assistance is your best chance of avoiding the lifelong and far-reaching repercussions of a criminal record. Call 407-425-4044 or contact us online for a free consultation.
If your case has already been concluded and if you are eligible for sealing or expungement of your criminal history, get assistance now to broaden your opportunities despite the burden of a mistake in your past.
390 N. Orange Ave., Suite 2300
Orlando, FL 32801
Winter Park Office:
250 S. Park Avenue, Suite 200
Winter Park, FL 32789