Do School Loans Count as Income?

A loan is a liability that has to be paid back, so it’s not really income. College loan proceeds aren’t taxable as income and don’t need to be reported to the Internal Revenue Service. Again, this is because you will be repaying that money at some point in the future. Scholarships and fellowships, on the other hand, may be taxable since they are more like gifts and don’t usually have to be repaid.

Looking beyond taxes, there are a few other situations that call for an estimate of your income. If you’re applying for a credit card or a car loan, for example, then no, you shouldn’t consider your student loan money as income. You can’t count one debt as income to pay a different debt. Since college loans can be spent on education-related living expenses, a housing application is one of the few times when it might make sense to call your loan money income. Be smart in budgeting for rent, though. Your landlord will be counting on your check to pay his own bills, so you need to be able to make rent during school breaks for the full length of your lease.