If you are receiving financial aid to help pay for college, you probably wonder how you use that aid to pay for the books you’ll need for classes. After all, no one put financial aid money in your hands, did they?
Well, here’s how it usually works (but not always, more on that in a moment). Most student aid packages are set up to give you enough money to pay for tuition and fees and your books. However, when the aid is actually delivered, the school gets paid directly for tuition, housing, and any other standard fees. After those things are paid, there will be money left over. That leftover money is then given to you and you can use it to buy books. Usually the leftover money will be direct deposited into your bank account, although other arrangements can be made also.
Now, it doesn’t always work this way. At some schools, part of your financial aid package is earmarked for books and you will have an account at the campus book store. You pick out your books and the cost is debited from your financial aid. (You may also get book vouchers, which allow you to get books in advance and have the money deducted from your financial aid. Basically the same thing just delivered a bit differently.)
In the end, the money is all coming from the same place. Every school has an Office of Financial Aid (or something similarly named) that you can call or visit to get the exact details on how financial aid is handled.