Spring break is that time of year when college students from around the country can find somewhere nice – preferably tropical – to go and celebrate being close to the end of another school year. These trips are often pricey, especially for a typical student’s budget.

Of course, it does raise the question of how college students can pay for these expensive trips to places like Cancun or Fort Lauderdale. Unless their parents are footing the bill or they have saved up money from a summer job, most students cannot afford to shell out the cash for a flight and hotel to party during spring break. They may actually be doing something else entirely, like using their student loans to pay for their trip. Is this possible?

Is It Possible to Use Student Loans for Spring Break?

Generally speaking, you can use your student loans to pay for a vacation like spring break. When you take out a student loan, the money is typically disbursed directly to your college or university. If there is any funding left over, this amount is then sent to the student in the form of a check. This is common when students borrow extra money in order to pay for living expenses, such as rent.

This method of disbursement occurs with both federal and private student loans. Since federal student loans are more limited, it is less likely they will result in a check being sent to a borrower. However, borrowers can still utilize these funds for expenses related to attending college, such as paying their rent or travel costs. Unlike other forms of financial aid, there are no strict limits on how student loan money is spent, which means it can be spent on almost anything, including trips.

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Should You Use Student Loans for Spring Break?

While it is possible to use student loans for spring break, it isn’t a good idea. It may seem like a great way to take a vacation you otherwise couldn’t afford, but ultimately it could mean you’ll be paying for a few days in Cancun well into your thirties.

A better plan would be to use any extra money you receive from your student loans strictly for your necessities, like books, a computer, or other expenses. Alternatively, start making interest-only payments on your student loans, or make full payments if you can. If you are getting extra money from your student loans you don’t actually need, consider cutting back on your student loans for the next year. Every dollar you take out in loans is a dollar you will eventually have to pay back, with interest.

While using student loan money to go on spring break might seem like a good idea, it is a terrible idea from a financial standpoint. Wait to take that vacation until you can actually afford it and you’ll enjoy it more knowing you won’t be paying for it in the future.