How do I use Financial Aid to cover rental expenses?

Many students use financial aid, whether it be scholarships, grants, or loans to help pay expenses they have while attending college. Any aid you receive will first be used to cover university charges. If you receive more aid than what is needed to pay for those expenses, the extra will be given to you by direct deposit (if you have signed up) or you will be mailed a paper check. You can then use those funds for other expenses—including off-campus housing.

The earliest disbursement of financial aid begins is 10 days before each semester starts. It then takes a few days for a student to actually receive any excess. Because you may not receive your excess aid before the landlord would like to receive payment, they will often accept proof of financial aid while waiting for payment. In the PAWS Student Center, you can find a link to your College Financing Plan if you have been offered financial aid. This form includes an estimate of what tuition will be as well as the total you were offered in aid.. You should be able to show a landlord this to explain that you have been offered aid in excess of what your tuition will be and plan to use this to pay rent expenses.

You can also use the Total Cost Estimator. Here you can work through your own individual costs, add in your aid, and have the information emailed to you. The email will show how much ‘extra’ you will have to use for other expenses. *It is important to keep in mind that the Onestop calculator only calculates expenses for the 9-month Fall and Spring semester periods and most leases are 12-months in length. Students will need to plan to have rent expenses covered for 12 months.

If you and your landlord are agreeing to utilize financial aid funds to pay security deposit and first month’s rent once it is disbursed, it is highly recommended you get this agreement in writing, outlining all of the details of the agreement to avoid facing eviction for unpaid rent and fees. The University Legal Clinic can help provide you with a written document both you and your landlord can sign and keep with your lease agreement.

If students have any questions related to financial aid, they should email the Financial Aid Office,