A numerical simulation of spin-dependent quantum transport for a spin field effect transistor is implemented in a widely used simulator, nanoMOS. This method includes the effect of both spin scattering in the channel and the tunneling barrier between the source/drain and the channel. Accounting for these factors permits setting more realistic performance limits for the transistor, especially the magnetoresistance, which is found to be lower compared to earlier predictions. The interplay between tunneling and spin scattering is elucidated by numerical simulation. Insertion of the tunneling barrier leads to an increased magnetoresistance. Simulations are used to explore the tunneling barrier design issues.