What You Can (And Can’t) Use Scholarship Money For

What you can (and can't) use scholarship money forScholarships are a great way to lower your college expenses.

If you’ve just won a scholarship, that’s great. Your next question might be, what can I use this scholarship money for? It’s a great question to ask and it’s important that you understand the answer.

Your scholarship provider will likely tell you how to use the scholarship money. If they don’t make it clear, ask them. Failing to use the money correctly can result in losing the scholarship altogether.

Can You Use Scholarship Money on Anything?

Many times, the scholarship provider sends the money straight to your college. This most likely means that your scholarship is for tuition only. But, if you receive the scholarship check directly, then you might be able to use it towards other things.

Can You Use Scholarship Money on Rent?

It depends on the scholarship provider. Going to college might mean moving out of your parents’ house and paying for living expenses. Some scholarships allow you to put the money towards room and board (some do not). This may include using the money for a meal plan in the school’s cafeteria.  

Make sure you check with the provider to determine their spending rules.

Can You Use Scholarship Money for a Laptop?

laptopCan you use the money on a computer? The short answer (again) is that it depends on the scholarship provider.

There’s no question that it’s really important to have a good working laptop in college. Some scholarships may allow you to use the money to purchase a new laptop and some might not. Again, make sure you check with the provider to understand their rules.

Can You Use Scholarship Money for a Car?

Unfortunately no. Some scholarships may allow you to put the money towards transportation costs on campus. But, having a car is not one of them.

You might feel tempted to use your scholarship money for personal expenses. But remember, when you win a scholarship, you are signing a contract with the scholarship provider. One of the terms you agree to is to use the scholarship money how they tell you to use it.  

Scholarship money is mostly intended for educational purposes only. That means that you can’t put the money towards paying for a new car (or your spring break trip).

Can You Use Scholarship Money to Buy Books?

booksProbably yes. Books are one of the most common ways that students use their scholarship money. Books are extremely expensive and can add up. The average cost of books for a full-time undergraduate student is almost $1,300 per year.

Luckily, students with scholarships can often use the money for books and supplies. That can end up saving you over $5,000 throughout college.

You will want to check with your scholarship provider regarding the rules. They may state that you can only use the scholarship money at specific book stores.

Can You Use Scholarship Money to Pay off Loans?

Probably not. Most scholarships are intended for a specific purpose. Usually, you cannot use the scholarship money for another reason. So, you wouldn’t be able to turn them into cash and use them to pay off your student loans.

But, you may qualify for student loan forgiveness and be able to pay off your loans through that program.

Final Thoughts

Scholarship money can prevent you from graduating thousands of dollars in debt. For that reason, it’s important that you know how to use the scholarship money you win.

Failing to use the money correctly can result in a number of negative consequences. You may lose the scholarship money or the scholarship provider may even take legal action against you. If you aren’t sure how to use your scholarship, check with the scholarship provider before spending any of the money.