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Discounts for College Students
Being a college student is tough financially these days. With the cost of college soaring much faster than inflation, it's very common to pay as much as $55,000 per year for a degree. Luckily, most students get financial aid in the form of grants and loans, but that still leaves a large tuition payment every year. Most students need to work and be frugal with their money.
That's where these discounts for college students come in. You know you're going to need to buy the essentials, so why not take advantage of the discounts below to make your money stretch further? What follows are over 70 discounts for college students, including a few super frugal options as well.
Discounts on Travel and Transportation
For many students, travel is a big part of their budget. They may travel from school to home, or perhaps they need a car in order to commute to school and to their job. Here are thirteen discounts for students, all in the travel category:
- Amtrak: Sign up for the Student Advantage card at www.studentadvantage.com and Amtrak will give you a 15% discount on the best available adult rail fare. The Student Advantage card can be used for many other discounts as well but there is an annual fee of $20 so be sure you'll get enough use out of it to make it worth the fee.
- Greyhound: Also with the Student Advantage card you can get a 20% discount on Greyhound fares and a 40% discount on packages shipped using Greyhound's PackageXpress. This would come in handy for shipping items to your dorm room.
- Coach USA: By joining their V.I.P. Student Travel Club, college students receive a 15% discount on regularly scheduled routes.
- MegaBus: MegaBus serves the Eastern half of the United States with extremely low bus fares. For example, a one-way fare from Philadelphia to Boston can be purchased for $5-$10, depending on the date and time. With fares this low, they don't need student discounts and they don't have them. But who cares. These deals are great!
- Bolt Bus: This bus service is offered in the Northeast and Pacific Northwest and, like MegaBus, offers extremely low rates with no student discounts. I did find their website to be difficult to use so would tend to favor MegaBus.
- Local Rail: Many local transit companies offer discounts to students. For example, NJ Transit offers students a 25% discount on monthly passes when their college participates in their University Partnership Program, which includes an extensive list of colleges in and around New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia. In Boston, students can ride the T for 50% off the standard fare or purchase a monthly pass for only $20.
- Air Tran: Airline discounts are difficult to find but Air Tran offers the opportunity for students to travel cheaply on stand-by. 18-22 year olds can register and then check the evening before their travel date to see if there are any stand-by opportunities for their destination.
- Student Universe: This company operates at www.studentuniverse.com and offers discount airfare to college students. There is no fee to use the service.
- Geico: For car insurance, Geico offers a discount for students who have a 'B' or higher GPA.
- All State: For single students under the age of 25 who get good grades, All State offers a discount on car insurance of up to 20%.
- General Motors: For college students and recent grads, General Motors offers their Best in Class Alumni & Student Discount. The discount entitles buyers to the preferred price on a car, which is lower than the MSRP. An example shown on their website used the 2012 Chevy Malibu and offered a $4700 discount to the MSRP.
- Ford: Ford offers a $500 rebate on all 2011-2013 vehicles to current part-time and full-time students as well as to recent graduates.
- Used Cars: Perhaps the best student discount of all can be had by simply purchasing a used car rather than one right off the show room floor. Going with a car that's 4-8 years old will net huge savings over new. Just make sure to select a make and model that's known for reliability and longevity. Check insurance rates and gas mileage as well to ensure low cost of ownership.
Discounts on Technology
What student can live without a computer or laptop these days? Cell phones are a must-have as well, with many students opting for smartphones. What about printers and supplies? Here are twelve discounts on everything technology.
- Apple: Students can save money on a computer at the Apple Online store. For example, recent pricing online showed a savings of $200 on a MacBook Pro, just for being a student.
- Dell: At Dell University online, students can save hundreds of dollars on a new PC. For example, students save $367 on a Dell Inspiron 15R laptop. They're also currently (May 2012) offering a $200 eCard to students who purchase a select Windows 7 PC.
- HP: At the HP Academy Discount Store, students can score discounts on laptops, desktops, printers, and ink. You need to sign up before using but there's no fee.
- AT&T: AT&T offers discounts on cell phone service to selected students whose school qualifies for their program. To find out, you need to go to their website and enter your school email address. They'll then verify your school and send you an email so that you can take advantage of their program.
- Verizon: Students will receive a 10% discount off their wireless bill when they use Verizon.
- T-Mobile: A 10% discount is also offered to students by T-Mobile.
- Sprint: Sprint offers discounts of up to 23% on their wireless services for students.
- Amazon: College students can sign up for a free membership program with Amazon that qualifies them for exclusive discounts on a variety of products. They also get 6 free months of free 2-day shipping with Amazon Prime.
- Microsoft: Microsoft offers generous discounts on their Office and Windows software. For example, a student can purchase Microsoft Office University for only $99.99, which includes Word, Excel, Outlook, Publisher, Access, and OneNote.
- Adobe: Students save up to 80% on student editions of their popular software.
- Norton: Anti-virus software is a must for anyone with a computer. Luckily, college students can get coverage at a 50% discount!
- Sony: Sony offers students a 10% discount on all VAIO products.
Discounts on Textbooks and Media
Of course every student needs textbooks so here's a list of companies that offer discounts on this college essential:
- Amazon: By joining Amazon Student, mentioned above, college students can save big on their textbooks. Advertised savings are as much as 90% off used books and as much as 30% off new. The books can then be sold back to Amazon when the class if over. Sweet!
- Barnes & Noble: Although not technically a college discount, students can save a lot on textbooks by going with used, e-books or rentals on Barnes & Nobel's website. Discounts quoted on the website are up to 90% off used books, up to 70% off rentals and up to 60% off e-books.
- Student Universe: Mentioned above in the travel section, Student Universe also offers cash back awards on textbook purchases from Textbooks.com, BookRenter, and Barnes & Noble.
- The Wall Street Journal: Student subscriptions to this financial newspaper can be had for 75% off the regular price.
- The New York Times: Students are elibible to receive 50% off the online version of The New York Times.
Discounts on Restaurants and Food
Many students have meal plans, but that doesn't mean they're always eating on campus. There are many opportunities to eat at restaurants, and here are nine student discounts on restaurants to make your money go further.
- Subway: Depending on the individual restaurant, discounts of 10% - 20% can be enjoyed by students.
- Restaurants.com: Students can get 8% cashback for using this website.
- Peapod: Get $15 off your first order from Peapod, an online grocery delivery service.
- Starbucks: When you order from their website, Starbucks will offer 5% cashback to college students.
- McDonalds: Select locations offer a 10% discount to college students...make sure you ask and show your ID!
- Burger King: Again, select locations offer a 10% discount if you ask.
- Qdoba: Select locations offer a student discount of 50% one day a week for a few hours, usually afternoon through dinner time.
- TGI Fridays: Select locations offer a 20% discount ot college students.
- Sam's Club: A Sam's Club Collegiate Membership is just $40 per year plus they'll kick in a $15 shopping card to use towards your first purchase.
Discounts on Clothing
Clothing can be expensive. Using these discounts can give you a huge price break:
- J. Crew: College students get a 15% discount.
- Banana Republic: Again, a 15% discount is offered.
- Top Shop: Get a 10% discount here.
- Ann Taylor: Students get a 20% discount just for showing their ID.
- Foot Locker and Lady Foot Locker: Get $10 off a purchase of $50 or more when you join Student Advantage.
- Rugby by Ralph Lauren: Get a 15% discount on Online orders with a Student Advantage Card.
- Target: Get up to 10% off with a Student Advantage Card.
- American Eagle Outfitters: They recently offered at 20% discount every Friday in October.
Discounts on Financial Services
College students need a bank account, sometimes for the first time in their lives. Luckily, some banks offer free accounts to get you through your college years.
- Sovereign Bank: College students get one of the best banking packages I've seen at Sovereign Bank. Free checking with no minimum balance, no fees, a debit card, and free savings. It doesn't get any better.
- Wells Fargo: Although not as good as Sovereign Bank, if you open a combo checking and savings account with Wells Fargo and get direct deposit, you can get a free, no fee package.
- US Bank: Students who bank here get free checking with no monthly maintenance fee, unlimited check writing, and four free ATM transactions per month.
- Bank of America: Free checking applies only if you choose paperless statements and agree to do all of your banking online. Otherwise, the fee for using a teller is $8.95 per month.
- Credit Unions: If you qualify for a credit union membership, this may be the least expensive banking option available. Check out local credit unions for more details.
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Discounts on Fitness and Sports
Most colleges now offer free gyms to their students, but if you want to work out at odd hours or have special fitness needs that aren't offered by your college, you may want to join a gym. Watching sports events can also come at a discount to college students.
- 24 Hour Fitness: Get a membership with no initiation fee. Actual monthly fee varies by location.
- YMCA: Many locations offer student rates. Call your local branch to find out more information.
Discounts on Entertainment
Students need to take a break from studying sometimes! Use these discounts in your downtime:
- AMC Theaters: Select theaters offer a student rate on Thursday nights.
- Regal Theaters: Call your local Regal theater to find out if they offer a discount and on which night. Many locations do.
- Cinemark Theaters: Select Cinemark Theaters offer an unspecified discount to college students one night per week. Check with your local Cinemark Theater for more information.
- Philadelphia Museum of Art: One day a year, in the fall, Philadelphia hosts College Day on the Parkway. On that day, college students can get free admission to the Philadelphia Museum of Art as well as all other cultural venues in the city.
- Science Museum of Minnesota: On Friday nights after 5pm, students get fantastic pricing on admission to this museum. For example, regular admission is normally $13 but is only $6 for students during this time.
- Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History in Pittsburgh: Students attending local colleges and universities can attend free of charge!
- Museum of Fine Arts Boston: Students attend free and get 10% off gift shop purchases with a valid ID.
- Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC: Students can visit for $12.00, which is more than half off the $25.00 general admission rate.
- Museum of Modern Art in NYC: The student rate is $14 compared to $25 for general admission.
- Broadway Shows: Student Rush Tickets are available for many Broadway Shows and are usually priced at about $20-$30 per ticket, a significant discount. Students can go to the show ticket office when they open the morning of the show to inquire. Availability varies by show.
Super Frugal Options
The unstated truth about most of the discounts above is that you actually have to purchase something to get a discount. If money is tight, it doesn't matter what the discount is, you probably don't want to fork out the money at all. If that's the case, here is a sampling of some super frugal options that trump even the discounts shown above.
- Shop at re-sale stores: There are many re-sale shops that offer great looking and fashionable designer clothes for a fraction of the cost of new. There are also re-sale shops that specialize in sporting equipment.
- Participate in a clothing swap: This has become quite popular lately. Young people are organizing parties where they bring clothing they no longer want. They are able to swap with others and there-by update their wardrobe at no cost.
- Use Craigslist and eBay: Purchasing used on Craigslist or eBay can take a big dent out of major and even minor purchases.
- Use campus computers: Don't purchase a computer. Instead, use the many that are located on campus. Sure, it might not be as convenient as staying in your dorm room but you'll save some money.
- Use public transportation: Instead of buying a car, use buses, trains and other forms of public transportation. Cars are very expensive the operate.
- Use the food plan instead of restaurants: Eating off campus can be fun once in a while but if you're on a food plan, making that the center of your meals will save you money.
- Live off campus: Investigate the cost of living off campus with roommates instead of on campus. On campus rates are about $15,000 per year at many colleges, including room and board. It's most likely possible to find less expensive lodging and food on your own.
Kristie Levyev on August 11, 2015:
Here is another article with some good info on student discounts http://ow.ly/QLmcn
Kristie Levyev on August 11, 2015:
Students, teachers and parents also get academic discounts on software, 3d printers, robotics and other technology products at Studica.com.
Jacobb9205 on February 17, 2015:
Wow, thank you for the discounts!
TomRy from USA on January 21, 2014:
Wow great article, I recently went back to college and I will definitely will be saving this HUB.
thank you, thumbs up.
Emer420 on May 20, 2012:
Oh man. As a college student I will probably be using many of these tips. Thank you for the very useful hub. It was very well written and informative. :)