What Can I Use Scholarship Money For?

A scholarship is a free monetary award given to students who meet the funding organizations requirements. Some scholarships are awarded for academic achievements, others for athletic or extracurricular accomplishments. Still others may be awarded for students from a certain demographic or those who demonstrate financial need. But you may ask yourself: what can I use scholarship money for?

Student searching for scholarships

Scholarship Criteria

Every scholarship has its own eligibility criteria and application requirements. Any money you win by way of scholarships is yours to keep. You don’t have to pay any interest on it, nor do you have to return it. However, you cannot always use it for just about anything you want. Just as every organization has their own application requirements, some also have their own rules regarding what the money can be used for.

It’s advisable to always read the terms of every scholarship before working on your application. If you want to use your award money towards a specific expense, make sure the scholarship allows it. The terms are usually mentioned along with the requirements for applying.


Almost all rewards can be used towards tuition. In fact, the main purpose behind most scholarships is to make college more affordable for students. Many organizations will send the money directly to your school’s financial aid office to be used against your tuition. Some organizations may send entire reward money as a lump sum. Others may divide the amount and send it in installments.

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Education-Related Expenses

Some scholarship organizations will send you a check for the reward amount to be used towards education-related expenses. This includes books, course materials and other supplies. The cost of these items can add up to a substantial amount over the course of the year. Being able to use your award money towards these purchases can lower your overall cost of college.

Living Expenses

There are several other expenses associated with attending college. Room and board are often the second highest expense after tuition. Many organizations approve of using your award towards these costs, which can be a huge relief. If you’ve won a very generous award or a recurring award, you can even use it towards groceries and other necessary expenses.

What Can I Use My Scholarship Money For?

When an organization makes out a check in your name, the money gets transferred directly into your account. The check may or may not come with specific instructions as to what you can use the money towards. Also, organizations rarely follow up to see how you’ve spent the money. Does this mean you can splurge on anything you want? In most cases, you may be able to get away with it. However, it’s not a smart move for several reasons.

If you’ve already taken on student loans, using the scholarship money towards an essential expense will help to reduce your debt. You may not realize the value of this while you’re still in college. But when it’s time to make those monthly payments after graduation, you’ll be glad you didn’t take out more in loans.


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