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has somebone used NSF-GRFP cost of education money to buy a laptop?


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The money is not given to you, it is given to the school you are attending to cover... cost of education (tuition and mandatory fees).  They are not required to make any portion of that money available to you.  They are only required to not charge you any of the excess cost beyond what the allowance provides.

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There are a handful of schools that pass along some of the CoE money to the student to use a grant for research expenses. 


They're in the vast minority, though, and it's all schools at which the actual cost of education (tuition+fees) is less than the 12.5k that the CoE provides (state schools with cheap tuition). 


At the majority of schools, your years tuition+fees will be more that the CoE, and it will go towards paying those and the school will eat the rest. 

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