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Using Student Loans for Housing and Living Expenses

Getting student loans for housing and living expenses will allow you to spend more time focusing on school instead of focusing on side income.

There is a laundry list of things to pay for when you move to a university or college. Yes, laundry is one of the items on that list that is getting more and more expensive. Unfortunately, it’s easy to forget about these expenses as you’re planning for college. Laundry is only the beginning. But what about all those loans you just took out? Can you use student loans for housing and living expenses?

It may not seem significant, but according to the average student will spend approximately $15,000 annually on non-tuition expenses.

Failing to consider living expenses can take a significant toll on your finances, especially if you live in high-cost areas. It is worth asking about how to use your student loans and if they can go towards necessary living expenses.


Will you get in trouble for using student loans for housing and living expenses? If not, what technically qualifies as a living expense? Both valid questions. The first thing to understand is how your student loans will operate and if you will receive any money at all.

Let’s dive in...

Are your student loans for housing and living expenses? What to know about your student loans

The short answer is yes. Your student loans can go towards housing and living expenses. Whether public or private, most loans go directly to the school to cover things like tuition, room and board, books, supplies, and transportation. In most cases, you won’t even see the money.

However, if there is money left over from your loan above what the school charges, you will receive that. You can use that money at your discretion, and you can use it towards extra living or housing expenses that aren’t covered under the school’s fees already.

While you have discretion over these remaining funds, it is highly discouraged to use them towards entertainment, vacations, personal vehicles or other property, others’ education, and business expenses. Consider that these funds are still part of a loan and will gain interest just like anything else. Don’t use this as extra pocket money and, if you can manage without it, return the money to the lender and reduce the balance of your loan.

Additional types of student loans for housing and living expenses that you should know about

If you still feel you need student loans for housing and living expenses above what you have been able to get, your best bet will be to look into private loans. Be careful if you take this route and research your options thoroughly because interest rates can be high for these loans and will hurt your finances over time.

This doesn’t mean there aren’t any quality private loans available. Still, they won’t have the same protections in place for you that public loans do. You can only protect yourself by understanding what you’re getting into. To the extent that you can, keep unnecessary costs low, and find part-time work to support your lifestyle.

What parts of your living expenses are you looking to fund? How much do you feel you’ll need, and have you found any options?


Nancy Zambell has spent 30 years educating and helping individual investors navigate the minefields of the financial industry. She has created and/or written numerous investment publications, including UnDiscovered Stocks, UnTapped Opportunities, and Nancy Zambell’s Buried Treasures under $10. Nancy has worked with for many years as an editor and interviewer for their on-site video studios.