What can grants be used for? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 17 Old 07-07-2009, 11:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I just got the info on what grants and how much I'll receive for school this fall and spring. It's a good amount (the most you can receive from Pell and the most you can receive from another grant too). The school I'm going to is a community college (for 2 years then I'll transfer to a different college), so it's a less expensive option- which is good. After doing the quick math- the grants will cover all tuition and fees and all books with some left over. I don't have to worry about room and board, as I live just a few minutes away from the college.

So.... what happens with grants? Do I just get a check for that money and I can spend it how I need to (gas to get to school, parking, etc)? Do I have to prove what I'm spending it on?

The plan is for me to continue working while I'm in college, but with slightly reduced hours (I work between 20-40 hours/week right now, I will be working either 16.5 hours/week or 22.5 hours/week). So the little bit of extra money will come in handy. I also need to buy a laptop.... can the grant money be used for that?

Thanks!

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#2 of 17 Old 07-07-2009, 12:12 PM
 
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I'm pretty sure you can use it on whatever you like. The criteria for grants is usually pretty rigorous. Laptop would be a good option, if the money weren't eaten up by parking and gas.

If memory serves, you'd get a check in the fall and another at the start of the spring term.

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#3 of 17 Old 07-07-2009, 01:36 PM
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I don't have the same grants that you do, but I do receive a "Student Parent" grant each semester from my university. They just deposit the money in my bank account at the beginning of the semester and that's it. I use it for childcare, groceries, textbooks, phone bill, etc. Grant money in excess of tuition and fees is for living expenses (as I understand it), so it goes to what you need it to go in order to support yourself while in school.

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#4 of 17 Old 07-07-2009, 11:22 PM
 
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#5 of 17 Old 07-08-2009, 12:04 AM
 
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I used my grant and loan money for the things I needed during the semester--and with a family to raise anything really helps as you know. I was also able to reduce my work hours.

They will take out your tuition and stuff first and then give you the remainder--at most schools you are able to "charge" your textbooks and stuff at the bookstore against your financial aid.

I got awarded grant and loans every semester.

Marilyn,psych RN. Homeschooling mom to Taylor (12) and Lauryn (8)
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#6 of 17 Old 07-08-2009, 12:44 AM
 
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So glad this thread is here! I just found out my grants for the upcoming fall semester will pay for about $600 more than my tuition. I am in dire need of a new computer and I will need to pay for books out of that. I was definitely wondering how it worked.

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#7 of 17 Old 07-08-2009, 01:54 AM
 
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Each school will handle the initial disbursement differently, but generally, it will go for tuition. If you live on campus, it will also go towards that. Afterwards, they will usually credit you the amount (I'm old school they cut me a check!) and you can use it towards your rent, utilities, food, books, photocopying, conference fees, gas...I have one friend that used it towards her car payment. Basically, if you need it for school, you can use your grant/loan for it. I'm not sure which grant you have specifically, so I don't want to be too magnanimous in my proclamations

To be safe, you want to keep records in the form of receipts.

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#8 of 17 Old 07-08-2009, 02:07 AM
 
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We get excess grants every semester, and we use them to help pay for rent usually, but one semester we bought a laptop (needed for school) and other necessities we might need during the school year. They don't check what you spend the money on, its to help with costs while attending school.

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#9 of 17 Old 07-08-2009, 02:20 AM
 
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Granted, I was a "traditional undergrad" when I was in college, so my expenses were different, but I could request a check for any amount of financial aid that was over the amount the university charged for tuition, fees and room and board (if applicable).

The way that financial aid works is that they look at the cost of more than just tuition and fees, but also books, transportation, housing, etc.
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#10 of 17 Old 07-08-2009, 03:02 PM
 
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I bought a netbook with grant money, so yes, I would say it's okay And actually, my school has it set up so you can use financial aid at the bookstore before the semester starts to buy a computer from them -- I just waited for the disbursment date b/c they didn't have what I wanted (they had PC's and Laptops, though). The money is for whatever you need, while you are in school. In the fall I plan to use fin aid money to help cover part-time child care costs. What the PP said, your financial need is based on tuition, books, housing, food, childcare, transportation, etc., and they subtract your EFC from the total asssumed cost for the semester/year.

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#11 of 17 Old 07-09-2009, 04:15 PM
 
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At my school(s) the money first goes to the school expenses, anything left over goes to you (either a check or into your account) and you can use it buy beer if you want. No one every asks what you used it for, its for "living expenses" techinically I guess, but hey I could justify a drink as a "living" expense!!!!
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#12 of 17 Old 07-10-2009, 01:47 AM
 
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Any educational expenses (book, fees, computer, etc.), living expenses- rent, utilities, etc. or transportation to/from school is 'legally' acceptable. Honestly, no one checks how you spend the money. The school gets the payment, keeps what they need to cover tuition/fees, sends the rest to you. CONGRATS!

Michelle -mom to Katlyn 4/00 , Jake 3/02, and Seth 5/04
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#13 of 17 Old 07-10-2009, 01:07 PM
 
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here in CA where I am in community college - the check is mailed to you. it all depends on how you fill out the FAFSA.

this is the formula my school follows

Your Cost of Attendance (COA)
minus: Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
equals: YOUR UNMET NEED

what they pay for is your unmet need.

Budget Category
Books & Supplies
Enrollment Fees/ UTP
Loan Fees
Miscellaneous
Non-Res Tuition
Room & Board
Transportation

Resources
Parental Contribution$0.00
Student Contribution$0.00
Veteran Benefit$0.00

Total Budget

Total Resources

Financial Need


: yeah i know. i just did mine so i got this from school.

so now do you understand what the money is for? why you dont have to keep any receipts of what you do with it? you could do anything with it. even buy a porshe if you wanted to :

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#14 of 17 Old 07-10-2009, 01:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meemee View Post
you could do anything with it. even buy a porshe if you wanted to :
I guess buying a porshe could be considered transportation... lol....

Thanks everyone! That clears it all up

Steph, DH Jason (1-1-11), DS Owen (10-3-03) and DS Kai (10-13-11)

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#15 of 17 Old 07-10-2009, 05:53 PM
 
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I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there are restrictions, but usually not from the college/university. The only people who care what you do with the money are the IRS. And yes, they can be real sticklers about it:
http://www.irs.gov/publications/p970...blink100020723

According the IRS, anything you use for school fees (tuition, fees), books, supplies and equipment is tax free.

Anything you use for housing, food, and travel is considered taxable income. SO, if at all possible, you should use income from other sources for these and then your grant money for school stuff. A computer WOULD count as equipment for school, but alas a Porsche would be out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by meemee View Post
so now do you understand what the money is for? why you dont have to keep any receipts of what you do with it? you could do anything with it. even buy a porshe if you wanted to :
Not without paying the IRS you couldn't! And YOU do need to keep your receipts if you're ever audited.

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#16 of 17 Old 07-11-2009, 12:37 PM
 
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woah lynn i never knew that. i guess IRS would want to audit if you showed a lifestyle way beyond what you make.

i dont save receipts.

but boy oh boy do i see students use their money - even take out loans to buy gadgets and toys.

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#17 of 17 Old 07-11-2009, 01:01 PM
 
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You're allowed to use loans for transportation expenses, though. I don't think it's taxable (the loans anyway) b/c you have to pay it back. The grants would be different, but the amounts of the grants are generally such that legitimate school expenses would be nontaxable. Then use the loans for the other stuff- like the porche

Michelle -mom to Katlyn 4/00 , Jake 3/02, and Seth 5/04
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