do student loans cover housing off campus

Last Updated on December 16, 2022 by Omoyeni Adeniyi

To get all the important details you need on Can I Use Student Loans to Pay for Rent, Things to Consider When Paying for Off-Campus Housing, How to Use College Loans to Rent an Apartment, Student Loans for Apartments and lots more All you have to do is to please keep on reading this post from college learners. Always ensure you come back for all the latest information that you need with zero stress.

Can student loans be used for off campus housing?

The short answer is yes! If you are using a federal student loan, you are eligible to use them to pay your rent. However, there are a few things to keep in mind if you want to use your federal student loan money for off campus housing.

First of all, you will need to request a change in your school’s billing address from the school’s financial aid office. This can be done by filling out an online form or by printing one out and mailing it in. Once this change has been made, you should receive a new bill from your school that includes rent payments within it. It may take up to 30 days after requesting this change for your bills to reflect this change and include your rent payment information on them.

Second, if you are using a private lender (such as Sallie Mae), they may have different restrictions about how much money they will allow students to borrow for housing expenses versus tuition costs. The federal government does not limit how much students can borrow for these purposes (other than the total amount of their financial need as determined by their Free Application for Federal Student Aid form). However, private lenders might have more stringent limits on how much they will lend out

Can I Use Student Loans to Pay for Rent?

You can use a student loan to pay for rent for off-campus housing during college. In fact, you can use student loan funds to cover a college‘s full cost of attendance, also known as the student budget.

Cost of Attendance

A college‘s cost of attendance (COA) includes room and board in addition to tuition and fees, books, supplies and equipment, transportation and miscellaneous expenses.

Most colleges have four student budgets based on where the student lives:

  • On campus in the college dormitories or other college owned or operated housing.
  • Off campus housing, such as an apartment.
  • At home with parents.
  • On a military base or receiving a basic housing allowance from the military. (In this case, the student budget will include costs for meals but not for housing).

There may also be other student budgets for students who are married or have dependents.

You can use student loans to pay for the cost of the apartment and housing expenses, up to the allowance specified by the college.There are no restrictions on where the apartment is located, and the apartment does not need to be near the college campus.

How Student Loans are Disbursed

Student loan funds are sent to the college, not to the student.

The college will apply the student loan funds and other financial aid first to college tuition and fees. If the student is living in the dorms or other college housing, the money will also be applied to room and board.

If a credit balance remains, it will be “refunded” to the student within 14 days. The student can use this money to pay for rent, textbooks and other college costs.

Since the loan proceeds will be paid to you in a lump sum, you will have to manage the money carefully to have enough money available to pay your off-campus rent each month.

Some colleges have “Pell as a paycheck” programs where a Pell grant recipient gives them permission to hold onto the money and they disburse it in monthly or biweekly installments. But, you may be better off depositing the student loan money to a bank account so you can control the timing of the rent checks.

How To Use Student Loans For Living Expenses | Bankrate

Submit the FAFSA Every Year

To receive a federal student loan, you should complete and file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) the moment you commit to go to college your senior year of high school. This is the application that allows the federal government to consider your case, and includes details like your parent’s economic background, your dependency status, and your academic and extra-curricular achievements. The federal government also considers inputs from your school, to determine the final student loan amount that you qualify for during that academic year.

This means that federal student loans are decided for the entire academic year, and need to be renewed on a yearly basis. This may also be accompanied by qualifying criteria to maintain your eligibility for the student loan. (This typically includes enrolling for at least half-time classes each semester, maintaining a required GPA, etc.)

If you exhaust your federal student loan limits, you may consider borrowing a private student loan. Federal student loans (from the government) are preferred over a private student loan (from banks and private lenders) because they come with many perks, including:

  • Potential for subsidized loans
  • Potential for student loan forgiveness
  • Options to make student loan payments based on your income and family size
  • Options to pause payments if you lose your job or have an economic hardship
  • Generally have a lower interest rate

If you do wish to borrow private student loans, shop around to find the best lender for you .

How to Return Unused Federal Student Loan Funds

It’s important to keep your student loan debt to a minimum. Even if you have a subsidized federal loan with a low interest rate it will still need to be paid in full once you leave school. But, sometimes it can be difficult to predict how much you’ll need to borrow.

For instance, consider that you were able to minimize your expenses mid-way through a semester, perhaps by taking on a roommate, or by picking up a job that includes meals. In this case, you may end up with leftover student loan money. Rather than use it on non-urgent expenses, consider returning your unused student loans back to the government. If this is done within 120 days, you will not incur interest for the corresponding loan amount.

Things to Consider When Paying for Off-Campus Housing

Living off campus in an apartment can be a great way to save on room and board, especially if you get a roommate to split the rent. But, it can also increase costs if you need to commute to school.

Using student loan money to pay the rent will also increase your costs, since student loans must be repaid, usually with interest. Every dollar you borrow will cost you two dollars by the time you repay the debt.

You may be able to reduce costs by living on-campus in a dorm. For example, some colleges offer an opportunity for students to be a Resident Assistant, which can come with free or discounted housing.

Dorm life is also more convenient. A typical college dorm comes furnished with a bed and desk (perhaps even a wardrobe), and includes basic utilities like electricity, water, heating, internet, etc. This works out much cheaper than off-campus living, as you total up expenses related to rent plus deposit, furniture, and monthly utilities.

Also, an increasing number of schools provide three daily meals for on-campus students. The cost of these meals are factored into the COA, which means that the school will automatically deduct it from your student loan.

What Expenses You Should Cover With Student Loans | Student Loan Ranger |  US News

How to Use College Loans to Rent an Apartment

College loans don’t just pay for tuition and books. They also help to cover living expenses associated with college, including renting an apartment. Depending upon the specific type of student loan you get, the funds might be directly disbursed to you or the money might go to the school, which will then give you the money, minus tuition costs. You can then use this money to pay for an apartment.

  1. 1.Apply for a student loan. If you’re seeking a federally-backed student loan, you’ll need to fill out a Free Application for Student Aid form and provide information about your income and the school you’re attending. You can often do this through your school’s financial aid office. You can also apply for a private student loan directly through your bank, though these loans often carry higher interest rates and you might have to make payments while you’re still in school.
  2. 2.Review your loan award letter when you receive it to determine which loans you are eligible for. Select loans that will pay for tuition plus living expenses and sign for these loans. Wait for the funds to be disbursed before you begin apartment hunting. You should ensure that the loan you select is enough to cover the entire length of an apartment lease plus any utility payments or living expenses you’ll be paying.
  3. 3.Search for an apartment by talking to friends about their apartments, reading local classifieds or driving around looking for apartments. Go to the leasing office and fill out a rental application. You might have to provide references as well as financial information. Ensure that the leasing office knows that you have a student loan that will be covering your expenses. Because many students don’t work, if the office does not know about the loan you might be denied.
  4. 4.Sign the lease agreement and pay any deposits you’re required to pay for your apartment. Make your monthly rental payments by the due date each month to avoid rental fees. It can be helpful to put your loan money in a separate bank account so that you don’t accidentally use it for other expenses and run out of money to pay for your apartment.WarningWhile a college loan might feel like free money now, you’ll have to repay the money plus interest when you graduate. Don’t take out huge loans, and avoid using your college loan to finance an expensive lifestyle.

Student Loans for Apartments

If you are an immigrant in the U.S. and are exploring cost-effective accommodation options, this article is for you. Here, we will have a closer look at the benefits of living off-campus, along with the various ways through which you can get accommodations on rent.

Why Living Off-Campus is a Better Option?

Staying in the dorm is usually seen as a part of the whole experience of being a college student. However, a very small percentage of students actually do this. International students or those who are immigrants in the US prefer to secure lodgings off-campus.

The biggest reason is that college dorms are very expensive and quite difficult for immigrant students to afford. If you are able to arrange a place off-campus, you will actually be able to cut down on many unnecessary costs as well. For example, you will not need to pay for the college meal plan as you can cook, avoiding extra expenses and wastage.

Can Student Loans be Used to Pay Rent?

Since the costs of a dorm in colleges are quite high and it might include other avoidable costs, students can use their loans to rent an apartment off-campus. However, before you do so, you should consider the overall expenses and exactly how your loans will be able to cover them.

How to Use Student Loans to Rent an Apartment?

Depending upon the type of loan, the loan amount will either be disbursed to you directly or it will go to your college from where you will receive the funds after the tuition costs have been subtracted.

The steps to secure a student loan and use it to lease an apartment, especially for an immigrant student, are given below.


Apply for a loan that will benefit you the most. If you decide on a federal loan, then fill out a Free Application form which will be available with your college’s financial aid office. You can opt for a private student loan but that might have higher interest rates.


Review the loan award letter carefully after receiving it. Decide which loans will pay for the living and tuition costs and select them. Make sure that the loan covers all your apartment rent and other associated costs completely.


Search for an appropriate apartment once the loan is disbursed. Fill out a rental application form at the leasing office and provide all the details about your student loan.


Sign the agreement to secure the lease and make all the necessary payments. Make sure you pay the rent on time so that you do not have to deal with any fines. You can put your loan money in a separate account so that you do not accidentally use it for other expenses.

Best Student Loans for Apartments

International students or immigrants studying in US colleges are often confused about which loans to apply for. If you are one such student who is having difficulty in choosing a loan, take a look at the following options.


Stilt offers student loans to immigrant or international students at very low-interest rates, all you need to have is a valid visa. Stilt will take your current employment status, education, financial stability, defaults or bankruptcies, and credit score into consideration when you apply.

Lending Point

If you need to secure small, accidentally, then Lending Point is a good option. They will make sure that the payments are within your budget and there will be no prepayment penalty involved.


If you have a good credit score, Avant could prove to be an ideal option to secure loans. All you need to do is choose the suitable loan option, sign the agreement, and the money will be transferred to your account the very next business day!

Ways to Improve Your Chances of Renting without Much Income

Most apartments or residential complexes have certain prerequisites regarding the financial status of the tenants but there are places that you can rent on your student loans.

Five such places which are affordable and much better than your cramped on-campus living spaces are:

Opt for a private home rather than a complex

If you rent a private home, you can avoid dealing with any processes involved with the property management companies. These companies have numerous strict policies regarding their tenants. Therefore, going to someone owning a private home will allow you to explain your situation and they will probably agree to negotiations about the rent.

Ask someone to cosign with you

Sometimes you might find an apartment that you cannot rent on your own. If such an issue arises, then you can ask a friend or a family member to sign the lease with you. They will have to simply sign the lease and do not have to necessarily move with you. However, if you fail to pay the rent, then the co-signer will have to make the payment.

Make a larger rental deposit

Most homeowners will be willing to rent their place if you are able to pay more upfront. This ensures a large rental/security deposit. If you decide to do this, then consider your other expenses to figure out if you can really afford to make this commitment.

Get a roommate

The best way to reduce costs is to find yourself a roommate. You can rent the apartment in your name and then ask someone to move in. If you have a roommate with whom you can share the overall living costs, then the whole amount will be significantly less.

Sublet your apartment

Here, the apartment is leased to one person in their name and then the tenant rents it out to someone else. When you sublet a person’s apartment, instead of paying the landlord or the landlady, you will be paying the lessee. Subletting is actually a good option for students as there are no strict policies that can disqualify them as a potential tenant. Also, the apartments are usually sublet for less than a year which goes very well with the college terms.

4 Student Loans for Housing & Living Expenses | LendEDU

In conclusion, student loans can be used for off campus housing. It is important to follow the requirements and guidelines set by your college or university. For example, if a student has completed their first year of study and wishes to move off campus after that first year, then they can apply for a student loan. Some colleges require students to live on campus for at least two years before moving off campus so that they can better adjust to living as an adult.

It is also important to remember that you will have to pay back your loan even if you are not currently attending classes because it is considered a debt incurred while attending college. If you do not repay your loan on time or make consistent payments, then interest will be added onto what you owe each month (or year).

The last thing we want is for our readership to get into trouble with their finances because they weren’t aware of what they could do in order to save money on housing costs while still getting the education they need in order to become successful adults!

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