Many students wouldn’t be able to attend college without student loans.
About 53 percent of adults ages 18 to 29 with bachelor’s degrees have outstanding student loan debt, according to the Pew Research Center.
But student loans don’t cover every college-related expense. Students and their families often have to combine funding sources to cover not just tuition, but transportation and certain living expenses, too.
Here is a look at what student loans will and will not cover.
Covered by Student Loans
Tuition: Student loans wouldn’t be worth much if they didn’t cover the cost of courses. Tuition is the heart of what student loans cover.
Room and Board: Loans typically cover costs for dorm rooms and meal plans for students living on campus. Students living off campus can often use loans to help pay for rent and utilities.
Commuting Expenses: While student loans won’t put you in a new ride (keep reading), they may be used for transportation costs like gas or train fare. Loan amounts for transportation are calculated based on how far students travel and their course schedules.
Studying Abroad: Student loans will usually cover the costs of studying abroad if the program is offered by an accredited college or university. That means students backpacking through Europe are on their own.
Equipment: In many cases, student loans will cover equipment purchases if they’re related to a student’s program of study. A computer science major, for example, may require a high-end laptop while a photography student may need certain cameras or lenses.
Not Covered by Student Loans
Cars: Some students consider vehicle purchases to be education-related if they’re made for commuting back and forth to school. Lenders don’t agree. While it would be great to purchase a vehicle and delay payments until after graduation, students planning to buy cars for college should plan on paying in full or applying for a traditional auto loan.
Decor: Loans will help pay for the cost of staying in a dorm, or sometimes an off-campus apartment, but students are on their own to outfit their digs. Student loans won’t cover that big-screen TV or the Egyptian sheets with the crazy high thread-count.
Do you know of any surprising things student loans will pay for? Tell us in the comments section.
Check out the variety of student-lending products and services available through AAA.