3 Education-Related Expenses that Stafford Loans Can Cover

Many students use Stafford Loans to cover the cost of their education, but some don’t realize that education related expenses can also be covered. There is some confusion over what can be considered an education related expense, so let’s take a look at three education related expenses that can be covered with a Stafford loan. 


Stafford loans are available as both unsubsidized and subsidized type. Subsidized Stafford loans are awarded based on student need, whereas unsubsidized student loans can be given to any authorized student in the United States. Subsidized loans have their interest paid while the student is in school, during the grace period before repayment begins, and during any approved deferment period. Unsubsidized loan interest is the responsibility of the student, but may be deferred until after graduation. Any interest deferment will be capitalized, or added to the balance on the loan before repayment begins. Students have the option to make payments on interest while in school and while in deferment. 


Books and Supplies


Beyond tuition, students will require books and supplies to attend classes. Supplies will vary, based on the program of study a student enrolls in. For example, a culinary student will need kitchen utensils, whereas a web design student will require design software. These things will be needed in order for a student to succeed in the program, but go beyond the scope of traditional supplies such as pencil and paper. Depending on the depth and complexity of the program, supplies for any given semester could get costly. 


Child Care


For students with small children who would not be able to attend class without childcare, childcare expenses are considered an education related expense. Expenses associated with a daycare, private sitter, or an after school program all count. For students who cannot afford the full cost of child care on their own or even with the Stafford loans, check into local assistance programs that will help cover a portion of the costs for you. 

Transportation Costs


Students need a way to get back and forth to class. The money spent on fuel, on bus or cab fare, or the money paid for rides from others to get to class is all considered a transportation cost. While some may argue that a car is a transportation cost, the actual cost of the car itself isn’t generally considered as such. 


Although a Stafford loan can be used to cover these education related expenses, it is most commonly used for tuition, room, and board. It is important to remember that these related expenses-supplies (unless direct purchase from the school is required) and transportation costs cannot be considered education related expenses for tax credit purposes. Regardless of what a student spends the loan money on, the loan will be paid back the same way. 

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