How will a criminal charge affect my college status?

There are several ways in which a criminal charge might affect your college status. For example, if the crime you are alleged to have committed took place on campus, it is possible that you would also have to appear before the school’s judicial board and plead your case. This might also happen in off-campus instances if the alleged crime involved another student, a professor or someone connected to the school. In some cases, you could be summoned before the board even if there is no university connection at all. As a result, you could face being disciplined, suspended or expelled.

While the saying goes, “Innocent until proven guilty,” many college judicial boards rush to hear cases before a criminal matter is resolved. For example, if you are suspected of having drugs in your dorm room, the judicial board might decide your case long before the criminal system does. Here is a look at the potential ripple effects.

Delayed graduation

If a suspension is the outcome of your case, your graduation could be delayed. This could mean not getting to finish school with your closest friends and feeling isolated and out of the loop. Being put on probation can have a similar effect.

Changing schools

If you are expelled, it may be difficult to find a new school that will accept you. If you actually did commit the offense(s) that got you expelled, it can help to show that you have changed your behavior and found ways to ensure that whatever you did never happens again. However, given the rapid nature of judicial boards and the lack of preparation you may feel, you might find yourself being punished for something you did not do or being punished in an extreme matter for a relatively minor offense.

Paying more

Financial aid can also be affected. You stand to lose scholarships and grants, at least on a temporary and perhaps permanent basis. This is another way in which graduation can be delayed.