Can you keep extra scholarship money?

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Leftover scholarship money is incredibly rare, since students are only able to receive as much scholarship money as needed to cover tuition. A general rule of thumb is that the total amount of financial aid you receive cannot exceed your cost of attendance (this includes the student loan component of the package).

However, leftover scholarship money is not completely unheard of. Under certain circumstances, it is possible to have leftover scholarship money or other money from your financial aid package. Where this extra money goes is dependent on the individual conditions of the situation.

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Refund check

For instance, depending on the rules of your school's financial aid office or your scholarship providers, you may receive a refund check. You can hypothetically do anything you want with this money, but you will likely have to pay taxes on it. This situation is somewhat more rare, and you will likely not receive a refund check in this manner.

Other college costs

If the extra scholarship money does not go to you as a refund check of free money, you can still negotiate with your financial aid office and/or your scholarship provider to put the money towards other related, but not necessarily required, college costs. This could include the cost of notebooks, field trips, rent, groceries, and more.

Graduate school

You can also ask your scholarship provider if you can use the money for graduate school. Once again, this requires a conversation with the provider and with your financial aid office, but if you plan to pursue post secondary school, you could be allowed to spend scholarship money leftovers in this manner.

Student loans

Similarly, if by some special circumstance you have too much scholarship money and student loans, you can use the scholarship money to pay off your student loan. This will depend on the conditions of your scholarship, so you should once again speak with your scholarship provider about how to use the money.