Navigating college and higher education can be hard for anyone but navigating while in recovery can bring new challenges. Many colleges now offer student support groups and resources to help people pursuing degrees while in recovery. Wherever you are in your recovery process, you have support and tools to be successful in your education.  

Rights, Protections, and Tips for Advocacy 

  • You are still eligible for federal financial aid. Your financial aid cannot be taken away if you are prescribed medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD).  
    • What if I have a drug possession charge on my record? If you are convicted as an adult for drug possession and your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is suspended, you can become eligible again by 1) successfully completing an approved drug rehabilitation program, or 2) by passing two unannounced drug tests done by an approved drug rehabilitation program.  
  • Every college campus has its own policy regarding The Good Samaritan law, even if it’s different than the state Good Samaritan law. Students for Sensible Drug Policy created a spreadsheet outlining campus policies if a student overdoses on campus and calls 911. Check with your Dean of Students and ask what the policy is if an overdose occurs on campus.  
  • Many colleges provide peer-based recovery groups, but do not prescribe MOUD. If you are interested in exploring MOUD services, you have a right to ask your campus provider for a referral to a community-based prescriber.  
    • If you are on a University Health Plan, call your university’s health insurance office to ask about coverage for mental health and substance use services.  

Resources for Education

  • The Association of Recovery in Higher Education (ARHE) is the only association that represents collegiate recovery programs (CRPs) and collegiate recovery communities (CRCs). The website provides a list of universities with active recovery programs. 
    • The Association of Recovery in Higher Education provides education, resources, and community connections for students in recovery, and the faculty, staff, and peers who support them. 
  • For information around eligibility for financial aid, FAFSA has created this FAQ.  
  • Sober Living has compiled a list of undergraduate universities that offer sober, substance-free housing options on campus.  
  • The Massachusetts Organization for Addiction Recovery (MOAR) provides information on additional ways to fund your education or vocational training in their Mini Guide.