Can student loans be used to pay rent?

Student loans can be used to pay for room and board, which includes on- and off-campus housing. So yes, students can use loans to pay monthly rent for apartments and other types of residences away from campus. The sooner a student knows she wants to live off campus, the sooner she is able to assess how much money she needs, so it is important to fill out the Federal Application for Free Student Aid (FAFSA) as early as possible in the prior academic year.

Student Loans and Paying Rent

College and university students should be aware that institutions of higher education pay tuition and fees first, especially when students receive no other financial aid such as Pell Grants or scholarships. Once these expenses are paid, the institution sends students any leftover loan money, usually by direct deposit to a bank account, which students can use for college-related living expenses including rent. Students should therefore understand that if they are planning to take a full course load and have no financial aid other than student loans, there may not be enough loan money left over to pay monthly rent for an entire semester or academic year. Planning ahead and ensuring enough financial aid is available to cover tuition, fees and rent is important.

Handling Disbursement Delays

College financial aid departments usually do not disburse leftover student loan money until after the start of the academic year, and landlords always want security deposits and monthly rent on time. Students seeking off-campus housing should make sure they have enough money to cover these costs, whether from family contributions or part-time employment, until they receive their student loan disbursement.