Every teenager – even the best of them – experiences a lapse in judgement at some point during their formative years. Science says it’s inevitable. The parts of the brain which process decision-making and emotional drive simply aren’t fully developed.
Unfortunately, a number of them end up with a blip on their record which can lead to paying for those temporary lapses long after they should.
In this post, we’ll share how a North Carolina criminal record can affect the college admissions process and eligibility for financial aid, along with what you can do about it. If you still have questions after reading, a knowledgeable Greensboro expungement attorney can help.
How the College Admissions Process Works in North Carolina
In 2006, questions regarding a college applicant’s convictions were added to the Common Application, which is used today by 28 North Carolina-based colleges and universities alone. University of North Carolina, North Carolina State, and Duke University are three of them.
Complicating the issue is the fact that school staff are often untrained in exactly how to weigh criminal history information.
So, let’s say your college hopeful does the honest thing and checks “yes” on the felony box of the application. As a result, university staff sends them on a wild goose chase for paperwork that may or may not exist on that single insignificant incident from years ago. Eventually, they are so discouraged that they simply give up.
Progress in legislation on how employers now approach job applicants with a criminal history seems to be a model for future reforms to college admissions. While thirty-three states across the country have adopted “ban the box” laws already, sadly North Carolina isn’t one of them.
How Your Child’s North Carolina Criminal Record Impacts Financial Aid
If you are like most families in America, you probably expect that filing a federal financial aid application will be a part of the admissions process for your child. Here’s the bad news, though. Federal law says that, in most cases, a criminal record equates to automatic denial on federal loans and grants.
So even if your child receives that coveted acceptance letter despite their criminal record, your next obstacle may be finding the tuition money. Although North Carolina is one of the most affordable states in which to attend college, the average annual in-state tuition cost still hovers around $11,000.
Duke University tuition is the highest in the state at more than $51k per year, but even NC State – rated the best value education – requires $6,535 of full-time students, and for most families coming up with that amount is a struggle.
However, depending on the offenses on your son or daughter’s record and the circumstances surrounding them, there is something you can do.
Help Your College Hopeful by Clearing Away Their NC Criminal Records
Before helping your child apply for college, review the records on file. Regardless of whether they were acquitted at trial – or even if they were never formally charged with a crime – it is imperative that you verify the status and visibility of any incident that may have involved law enforcement or the court system. This is true whether the incident was handled in juvenile or adult court.
Should anything surface, petition for expungement as soon as possible. Forms and instructions are available online. Only a handful of crimes are ineligible, so as long as the incident truly was a temporary lapse in judgement, you should have no problem helping them begin the process of eliminating negative marks on their record.
Worried about making a mistake or not finishing on time? Get in touch with our office. We’ve helped countless people get a new start by sealing or expunging their record, and we can help your child, too.
Sealing those records will ensure their youthful mistakes don’t stand in the way of leading happy, healthy, and productive adult lives.