What Can You Use a Student Loan To Pay For?

Written By Mary Beth Eastman
Last updated September 23, 2019

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Loans
September 23, 2019

Simple. Thrifty. Living.

If you’re like 25 percent of the U.S. population, you may have to take out a student loan to cover your expenses while you’re in school. In fact, as many as 44 million Americans–one out of four U.S. adults–account for over $1.5 trillion of student loan debt. While you can’t use your student loans to cover every expense including a new car or vacations, student loans aren’t just limited to paying for your tuition and books. Here are five types of expenses your student loans can cover:

You can use your student loans to cover room and board expenses, rent and other living expenses, too. For instance, you can use your student loan to cover bills for electricity, water and trash. Keep in mind that you’re not allowed to use your student loan as a down payment on a house.

Your student loans can also cover your food, such as meal plans. Whether you opt for a fully-covered meal plan or a partial meal plan, you can use your student loan can cover these costs to ensure you have a nutritious diet while you’re completing your program.

Some college programs may require you to invest in special supplies and equipment to complete your studies successfully. For instance, you may need a specific laptop, tablet or computer to complete a game design degree. You may also find it beneficial to invest in a professional sewing machine for fashion school so you can complete projects in your dorm room or apartment. Supplies, such as copy paper or a reading lamp, are covered by student loans, too.

You need to be able to communicate with your professors, classmates and advisors while you’re in college. A mobile phone makes this easy and convenient since it can travel with you wherever you go.

If you have children and need to pay for daycare while you attend or travel to school, you may use your student loan to cover this cost. However, you cannot use your student loans to pay for dependent care while you’re on a date or while you’re getting a haircut. Your expenses need to relate to your education.

While paying your tuition and fees may be the primary goal to use your student loans, you can use your student loans to cover other important, education-related expenses. Just remember that you can’t just use it for just any expense. Make sure you assess your needs and focus on spending your student loans responsibly. That way you can manage to pay back your student loan debt with ease. Plus, if and when it comes to refinancing your student loan, you’ll be refinancing a manageable amount.

About the Author

Mary Beth Eastman

Mary Beth Eastman serves as the content manager for Simple. Thrifty. Living, where she is dedicated to helping readers use money and credit wisely. Mary Beth believes that access to the right financial information paired with a growth mindset are essential tools for getting out of debt and building wealth. Mary Beth has a degree in Journalism from Bowling Green State University and has focused her 20-year journalism career on putting readers front and center, carefully considering their concerns and presenting information that will help them in their everyday lives. She has won numerous statewide journalism awards. Her writing on personal finance as been featured on numerous websites in addition to Simple. Thrifty. Living, including Huffington Post and Lexington Law blog. Mary Beth resides in Pittsburgh, Pa., with her family and two rescue dogs.

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