Will money from FAFSA® cover living expenses?

Yes, money from FAFSA® can cover your living expenses while you’re in college. At least within reason. Let’s talk more about what you can spend your money on.

What living expenses will FAFSA® cover?

If you’re enrolled full time, you can use your financial aid award to help pay for living expenses, including room & board, meal plans, utilities, and school supplies. 

Generally, your school receives your financial aid funds and allocates that money directly to your tuition or bill. Any money that is left over after paying your tuition will be refunded back to you.

It is then your choice to use those funds towards living expenses. However, there are some things you should not use these funds for. 

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What doesn’t count as living expenses?

Purchasing anything over the top or unnecessary generally does not count as a living expense. For instance, using your grant money for a sports car could get you in trouble. 

Despite the fact that you need transportation to school, that expense doesn’t look right should your school learn about it.

Other things you shouldn’t spend you money on? Concert tickets, vacations, and other splurges not related to your education. 

What happens if I use it on the wrong type of expense?

Usually, no one is keeping track of what you spend your grant money on. However, should your school or FAFSA® discover misuse of funds, you could be ineligible for federal financial aid in the future. 

Your best bet is to stick to using your funds for things that directly benefit your education. 

If you have any questions about whether an expense is eligible, check with your financial aid office or use your best judgement. Generally, if it’s something that helps you survive your education without going without food, a roof over your head, and transportation to and from school… it’s worth spending the money on.