Can I Use My Pell Grant on Books?

Written by Michael Bennet

This is a question I hear all too often from students, and the good news is that yes, students are able to use their Pell Grant on books, and other types of common school supplies.

This is because the Pell Grant was designed to be utilized towards a student’s education related expenses, and books are a classic expense that is of course related to getting a higher education, and graduating on time.

The Real Issue

It is always a smart move to ask a financial aid professional if you are a student to see whether you can use your Pell Grant money on certain items, as not spending it appropriately can land you in serious trouble if you are not careful. Most students have their Pell Grant funds deposited directly into their student accounts, which are then credited for common education related expenses, such as tuition, and perhaps room and board.

This happens almost automatically without the student’s intervention, and therefore very rarely goes wrong. The issues arise when students can gain access to the balance that is leftover once the major expenses have been paid for, and this is when they will in fact have an opportunity to utilize their own discretion when spending their Pell Grant aid.

Moving Forward

The Pell Grant is only supposed to be used towards education related expenses, so purchasing books is no problem at all. It is when the student decides to spend their aid on various other items that a problem may occur, and while this doesn’t happen very often, students need to use the proper discretion anytime they have full access to their Pell Grant funding, as they must determine where to allocate those funds appropriately.

Otherwise spending the Pell Grant on books and other common college expenses is just fine—it just isn’t something that students should take lightly and not understand.