If you have a criminal record, you may be wondering whether your criminal history will hurt your ability to receive scholarships and financial aid. Although a criminal record can impact your ability to receive maximum scholarships and aid, all is not lost, and a clean slate is within your reach!
The Impact of a Criminal Record on College Admissions
Before receiving college scholarships or federal financial aid, you'll want to consider what schools you'd like to attend. If you have a criminal record, you may be worried that your record will prevent you from even being accepted into any schools. Most colleges and universities will conduct some form of background check as part of their admissions process. Felonies and misdemeanors, especially those that are violent in nature, can raise significant concerns about your character and fitness to be a part of the campus community.
However, a national movement known as the “Ban The Box Movement” continues to press employers and schools to remove criminal history as part of their application process. The National Conference Of State Legislatures describes the movement as one that is “mollifying the social stigma attached to a criminal record….” Regardless of any forthcoming changes in the law, U.S. News and World Report noted in 2020 that a majority of public and private schools consider criminal history as part of their application process.
What Is Criminal Expungement?
Expungement is a legal process that permanently removes your criminal history from your record. In other words, your criminal history will no longer be visible to the public when they conduct any routine background checks. Some examples of matters that are expungable in New Jersey include:
- Court Proceedings
- Criminal or Juvenile Convictions
Although each case is different, expungements are typically available five years after a criminal defendant has completed their sentence.
Access To Scholarships And Aid
For many students, higher education is not affordable unless they receive scholarships or some form of financial aid. Many scholarships and grants have strict funding requirements, and criminal records can automatically disqualify you from certain scholarships and aid programs. However, if you are close to being released from incarceration, released, or on probation, The U.S. Department of Education notes that you can still qualify for various forms of financial aid, so don't give up hope!
Even if you have had or are considering having your record expunged, your criminal history likely had an impact on your personal growth and development. When admissions committees and scholarship boards review applications, they look for applicants who demonstrate personal growth and a commitment to positive change. Sharing your criminal history on your own terms can make your application that much more appealing, and expungement can be a compelling factor in showing your dedication to becoming a productive member of society.
New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney
Expungement of your criminal record can have a life-changing impact on your education and future. When it comes to college admissions, scholarships, and financial aid, expungement can create new opportunities and open doors that might otherwise remain closed. The Lento Law Firm Criminal Defense Team is standing by to answer your questions. Contact us today by calling us at (888) 535-3686 or by using our online contact form.