Do you think it is wrong to use Financial Aid for things like Macs?

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by GKDAIR, Jan 15, 2012.

  1. GKDAIR macrumors regular

    Oct 4, 2011
    I don't think its wrong. If it is was that frowned upon I don't know why the government would give you back the money in the first place.

    The only things I've ever used financial aid on was for fixing things or helping me out through college. I bought a macbook air because i didn't have a computer for college and quite frankly its the best computer I've owned. Ive also fixed me car from being an utter POS to drivable all through financial aid, and I don't feel like I've done anything wrong.
  2. Ivan P macrumors 68030

    Ivan P

    Jan 17, 2008
    Sorry if I sound ignorant, but what's the point of this topic? It honestly sounds like you have your doubts about it being 'right', so you're looking for other people to validate your opinion so you don't feel so bad?
  3. GKDAIR thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 4, 2011
    No I don't have doubts. I'm just wondering what other people think.
  4. malman89 macrumors 68000

    May 29, 2011
    No, it's totally fine. It should say somewhere on your loan disbursement or pre-loan counseling your school should've made you go through what you can spend the money on. Federal loans can be used for school and school expenses - which really means anything during your time in school. Tuition, books, rent, food, laptops and software are more than covered.

    Pretty much anything is really. There's no accountability to track what you're using the money for. It's just not smart to take out more than you need - the interest is going to bite you down the road. It's important to note the only way to shed student loan debt is to (a) die or (b) become so disabled to not have a chance to earn money to pay off your debt. You can't discharge the debt in bankruptcy.
  5. Menel macrumors 603


    Aug 4, 2011
    If you're in some graphic design, artsy program that leans heavily toward Mac based tools. Sure, its probably a necessity. Otherwise its a luxury extravagance.

    Most would be more economically and practically served by a $3-400 wintel.

    Years ago I picked up a refurb $500 Thinkpad in my third year of school, it was a work horse that lasted me until well past college. Reports, coding, linking to serial/parallel prototyping boards and robotics. And after school for use traveling mobile communications, web, email, IM etc. I think that refurb lasted me 8yrs. It finally died and now iPhone/iPad fill its void.
  6. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    It's not wrong if you need it. If you don't need it though, I don't know why you got it. It's just spending more money that you don't have. That's why so many people are in debt today.

    Honestly, there's nothing about a Macbook Air that you need, that a PC couldn't do. Is it right or wrong? Morality is tough to call, but was it a necessity? Definitely not. How do I know this? A mac for college is useful if you need it for film/photography/etc., in which case you'd opt for a computer with a larger hard drive and faster CPU.
  7. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    I would tend to agree there. If you're going to school in one of those areas, they tend to be very Mac driven. These days it matters less, but for many many years this stuff was better supported on a Mac. In one of those areas, I'd hate the small display and ram limitations (SSD helps somewhat, but it's not the same).
  8. Rodimus Prime, Jan 15, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2012

    Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Oct 9, 2006
    It is one of those depends answers. None of the stuff you listed is in the wrong category assuming you either did not have a computer or were replacing a fairly old and out dated one.

    Example of something that I have seen people do with Financial aid that I do not agree with. For example I knew one person who spent the money on getting a top of the line MacBook pro. Their major and what they used it for was a complete waste. They did do any heavy lifting type of work and was used for surfing the web and writing papers and then they replaced it 2 years later.
    Another person used their aid to buy iPod touch and an iPad.
    Now using it for that stuff is one thing but then they turned around and complained about their lack of funds and wish they got more aid.

    Now in my financial aid I got left over after books I had around 400ish last semester and I am looking at around 200ish this semester. Differences in amount is this semesters books cost more and I did not get as much off selling my books. The money for me just gets tossed into my general funds which the aid turns out to be enough to slow down the bleed off my personal savings to make it to the end of school.

    What have I been using my savings for? Things like gas for my car and food and little odds and end. The major purchases have been put on hold. Hell the first big thing I bought myself in the past 3 years was I bought myself skyrim. Yeah a 60 buck video game was my first real new toy that I bought myself in several years and I took the money off one of my books being sold.

    That is an it depends argument. Windows vs OSX. Even in photographery I could argue now against OSX easily as you can get a lot more horse power for less in Windows and OSX does not provide anything special in terms of tools. All of it is out there for Windows just fine. The only tool that is not out for both platforms is Final cut and lets faces it Final cut X is a joke and is not professional grade. As such the software in uses is out for both platforms.

    If you are going into engineering or programming I would say getting a Mac is not worth it since in Engineering a lot of the software you need to use is Windows only and programming a lot of .net and windows studio stuff is used so you will be in that OS any how. Sorry but the dev software out there for OSX is no were near as good as what is out there for windows.
    But over all it is a small group of people either way on which OS is better for them is effected by more than personal preferences.
  9. GKDAIR thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 4, 2011
    Yeah my views are that it doesn't really matter. I mean they give the money back to you with no strings attached, except for the whole paying off loans thing.

    I picked a macbook cuz i was tired of all my windows problems but thats besides the point.

    If someone bought a car with their financial aid money I really wouldn't care, id be jealous though, lol.
  10. wordoflife macrumors 604


    Jul 6, 2009
    I certainly wouldn't be buying a Mac with financial aid $$ unless I needed it. That's all I can say.
  11. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    No, there are strings attached. It is for educational expenses only and if you get caught, you can get in trouble. Granted, what is educational expenses are is blurry (ie housing, transportation, etc)
  12. steve2112 macrumors 68040


    Feb 20, 2009
    East of Lyra, Northwest of Pegasus
    Heh, I once bought a car with my financial aid, so I would say buying a Mac isn't that big a deal. :) It's better than blowing it on partying.
  13. Apple OC macrumors 68040

    Apple OC

    Oct 14, 2010
    financial aid to buy a Mac? ... how is this possible?
  14. CorvusCamenarum macrumors 65816


    Dec 16, 2004
    Birmingham, AL
    (Loans you take out + grants + scholarships etc.) - (actual cost of tuition + fees etc.) = refund check sent to you from your school.
  15. JoeG4 macrumors 68030


    Jan 11, 2002
    Bay Area, Ca.
    I'm taking a computer science class right now where you have to have a Mac because we're doing iOS development. :cool:

    It can totally be necessary, just don't blow your money recklessly. I know people that will be up to their eyeballs in debt really bad because they decided to go move into the fancy brand new apartments on my campus where a ROOM costs about $1100/mo (and sharing one is around 650!).

    The amount of money you can save living elsewhere would easily equal a 15" MBP lol.
  16. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Oct 9, 2006
    It am seeing the iOS development classes for "mobile" development but I honestly would rather see Android or Windows Phone device be the classes because skills learned in those classes better transfer out of the mobile device would and by that I mean object c is rather different and weird when compared to what else we are taught and use in school. Plus I see in the next 5 years iOS will not be the top mobile platform to develop for as Android will take top spot and the skill sets between windows phone and android better transfer around. Reason being is one is java based and the other is c# and .net based.
    Yes I have played with all of them and object c was the strangest to me and i have heard the same from multiple people. I see school changing to android and windows phone in the future.
    The other thing is it is a lot cheaper for a student to put things in android and windows respective markets. $25 for android and free for windows phone 7 compared to 100 for Apple.
  17. JoeG4 macrumors 68030


    Jan 11, 2002
    Bay Area, Ca.
    You don't need the $99 membership unless you want it (our uni has an account anyway), but we do have classes that cover Android development too :)
  18. EricNau Moderator emeritus


    Apr 27, 2005
    San Francisco, CA
    It's not wrong at all.

    If you have remaining financial aid funds after paying tuition, it was determined that you qualified for assistance with living expenses while enrolled as a university student. This means that you can use your financial aid funds for text books, housing, transportation, food, school supplies, etc. In this day and age, that includes a computer (and, in most universities, a Mac isn't seen as any more luxurious than a PC from my experiences).

    However, depending on the laws of where you live, you are likely obligated to pay taxes on any portion of the financial aid that was not spent on tuition or textbooks, because it is taxable income.
  19. *LTD* macrumors G4


    Feb 5, 2009
    Best to get used to this now. This will only become more common with the passage of time.

    Keep in mind that iOS is the dominant mobile platform, and that tablet figures are included. From what we've seen at CES in the segment, very little will change in the near future with respect to tablets. Android is nowhere in this area, and MS' smartphone platform is not only failing, but they have no tablet (worth using) available for retail yet. Given that their strategy is quite .... funny, I wouldn't expect much from them in this area.
  20. lolwut89 macrumors member

    Jan 13, 2012
    It's not wrong because you do need a computer for college. Labs are inconvenient to find and work in and may have computers that don't even work.

    That being said, remember that financial aid is through a combination of loans and grants. A lot of people rack up $100,000 in debt because they use financial aid to support a lifestyle and take out as much loans as they can.

    So don't get comfortable doing it unless if you want a huge repayment later on ;)
  21. cantthinkofone macrumors 65816


    Jul 25, 2004
    Missouri, USA
    Considering they just give you the money in the form of a check or direct deposit I don't think they really care what you do with it so long as you pay it off. I have used mine for transportation, housing and food while in college. Plust materials I needed for college.

    I wouldn't however use it to gamble with or other shady things.
  22. GKDAIR thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 4, 2011
    Yeah luckily i go to a junior college so my loans so far have been cheap. Mostly been using grants so I won't pay off much.

    But of course going to a university will increase the cost. I never take out more then I need.
  23. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    Right now, $849 gets you a refurbished MBA, the latest model, while $300-$400 finds you in garbage territory. With the MBA, if you have any problems, you can go to the nearest Apple Store and there are people who will actually help you - that needs to be pointing out again and again; if you have any problems you will encounter people who are paid to keep Apple's customers happy, not people who get paid to get rid of you as quick as possible.

    Look at it like this: $849 for an MBA. Or $400 for a cheap and nasty laptop plus $449 for cheap booze. The MBA will be considerably better for you.

    That said, you can also spend $3,800 on a 17" MBP with a 512 GB SSD drive. If you do that with a student loan, you deserve to be kicked hard.
  24. Cubytus macrumors 65816

    Mar 2, 2007
    Gnasher729 said it all. The additional money you spend on a Mac compared to a PC will save you countless hours of support, unnecessary reboots, even days of downtime when you will need to send back the PC to its manufacturer for warranty service if you need one, plus the money it typically cost to replace one part.

    Granted, it's hard to know, in an academic setting, what downtime "costs"
  25. notjustjay, Jan 17, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2012

    notjustjay macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    My take:

    Is it wrong (morally): no.

    Is it wise: depends.

    As others have said, if you NEED a Mac, there's no choice. My sister went through a graphic design program in her college where every student was required to buy a Mac and a copy of Adobe CS2 or CS3 or whatever was current at the time.

    If you don't need a Mac, then the thought has to cross your mind that if you're applying for financial aid in the first place, can you really afford to spend this much extra on a Mac? Or might that money be better spent elsewhere: tuition, textbooks, bus pass, a car, parking, dorm, food? If you think you can handle it, then go for it. If expenses are truly tight, then the wise thing to do is to get something cheaper.

    You also have to think a few years ahead: sure, the loan is interest-free now, but in a few years you'll need to pay it off and interest may begin to accrue. The more you borrow, the longer that will take. How are your job prospects? How's the economic forecast looking?

    Without going into my whole rant about taking out loans to buy unnecessary things, I'll just say that I financed the purchase of my first Mac, a 12" PowerBook G4, and that turned out to be a huge mistake because I fell behind on my loan payments in a hurry. So I learned this the hard way, and it's not something I ever want to do again.

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