Can you take out a student loan for living expenses?

This is one of those burning questions for student borrowers, but it’s an easy one to answer. Yes, you can take out loans for living expenses. There are miscellaneous expenses, like rent, that make up your allowable costs. However, you might want to be careful with the money you receive.

Depending on your situation, you may be eligible to receive direct payments to purchase materials vital for your education. Speak to your loan officer or financial counselor for details. Also, plan ahead and figure out what you need for your education.

First, Keep Track of Your Allowable Costs

According to the Federal Student Aid Handbook, schools are allowed to adjust the cost of attendance for each student while factoring in “allowable costs.”

What are allowable costs? These are the costs of the things you are allowed to pay for with your student loans. Here are a few items you can pay for with your student loan money:

  • Rent (especially if you live off-campus)
  • Food
  • Costs associated with your transportation
  • Technology (like a computer) that you need for your education
  • Manual tools (like art supplies) required for your field of study
  • Special accommodations if you are disabled

Some items, like books and software, might be purchased by your school on your behalf. Other times, you may receive a check or direct deposit in order to pay for what you need.

Remember: You Will Have to Eventually Pay Back Those Loans

It’s much better to have some money left over, so it’s worth it to think about what you’re buying. There comes a point when you will have to pay back your loans. Keep as much money as you can and use that extra cash toward your loan repayment.

In conclusion, you are able to use some discretion about how you spend your stipends for school. However, consider what you’re prioritizing. It’s a good idea to only pay for things that you need, try your best to hold onto any extra money you receive, and evaluate your plans to pay back that money.