When you send your child off to college, you hope a good education will provide a bright future. But when you receive a phone call that police arrested your child, you may worry about the effect a criminal conviction will have.

Criminal charges against college students can mean more than just a record. Schools punish students separately for breaking the law. Like most colleges, the Stephen F. Austin University has a code of conduct that lists penalties for any current students charged with a criminal offense.

The college can punish criminal charges

When your child enrolls in college, the school will expect him or her to follow the code of conduct. This document forbids things like plagiarism, cheating, disrupting the campus, hazing and many more. The code also prohibits any illegal activity on campus and retains the right to punish any student arrested for breaking the law.

Any student caught violating the code goes through a hearing process. A college hearing board decides if the student deserves disciplinary actions.

Punishments your child can face

Penalties can range from a warning to probation to the college requiring the student to take extra classes or programs that address the violation. If the hearing board finds the offense to be severe, they have the authority to suspend the student, resulting in lost class time. And for the most severe crimes, the board can expel the student.

A drug conviction suspends eligibility for federal student aid

In addition to penalties from the school, a conviction can also cause your child to lose out on financial aid. The Federal Student Aid Office suspends eligibility and payment to current students convicted of a drug-related offense. You may find yourself struggling to pay your child’s full tuition.

A criminal conviction affects your child’s future

A criminal conviction can stay with your child forever. Courts can order your child to pay fines and serve time in jail. The charges also go on your child’s criminal record, coming up in background checks for jobs.

But when your child is a student enrolled in college, a criminal charge can also affect the ability to get a diploma.