I got the letter detailing the when and how of the "stipend" (mine is a college-sponsored scholarship? I don't know if it makes a difference) but it was pretty unclear on the topic of what, exactly, you can put the money towards (without it being subject to federal income tax). It says in the letter that tax-exempt expenses are: tuition and enrollment fees and "books, supplies, and equipment required for course-related instruction."
My question is: what does "books, supplies, and equipment required for course-related instruction" mean, exactly? Does it mean strictly textbooks, school supplies (ie pens, notebooks), stuff like lab goggles or canvases for an art class, etc? Or can it be taken more liberally, meaning the money could be used for, say, a new computer? How do they know, anyway?