College costs a bundle, but at least your student ID will entitle you to discounts on laptops, food, cellphone plans and lots of other stuff.
College can be hugely expensive, particularly if you don’t qualify for much financial aid. A year of tuition averages $8,665 for in-state students at public universities and $29,056 for private schools, says The College Board.
So, we’re happy to present you with a small but still welcome consolation. When you start school, you’ll be eligible for lots of special student discounts and deals.
Here are some of the best ones we could find:
You’ll need a laptop for class, but you don’t have to pay full price. You can find discounts directly from manufacturers and from third-party retailers. Among them:
- Dell. Buy a select Dell laptop for $699.99 or more and you’ll get a $200 Dell gift card.
- HP. Through HP’s student discount program, HP Academy, you’ll get up to 20 percent off select devices.
- Apple. Students get special discounts on MacBooks and Mac desktops and a $100 Apple gift card.
- Best Buy. Best Buy’s College Student Deals page has discounts on computers and accessories.
You can customize your laptop to your liking for next to nothing or even free. Many universities have a website where students can download free or cheap software programs that normally cost a bundle. Check your welcoming packet or ask your student register office.
If you want to start the school year with a new wardrobe, try shopping at a store that offers a student discount. You may be able to combine that discount with sales for an even better deal. Brad’s Deals has a list of discounts for college students in many categories, including clothing stores. Among them:
- Anne Taylor – 20 percent off.
- Banana Republic – 15 percent off.
- The Limited – 15 percent off.
- Topshop – 10 percent off.
To get your discount, show your college ID.
Dorm room and other essentials
If you’re headed to a dorm this year, you’re going to need a few things – extra-long twin sheets and a shower caddy, to name a few – but you can stock up on supplies and decor items at a discount. Check out:
- Sam’s Club. Sam’s Club’s Collegiate Membership costs $40 a year but comes with a $15 gift card. When you factor in the savings you can get buying in bulk, the membership may be worth it. You can stock up on personal care items, paper products, groceries and school supplies.
- Amazon – With the Amazon Student program, you’ll receive free two-day shipping on selected purchases for six months. If you then opt for a $39 annual paid membership in Amazon Prime (regularly priced at $79), you’ll get free two-day shipping and free streaming of thousands of movies and TV shows.
Once you’re settled in, start checking around town for other deals you can get with your student ID. Here are a few of the discounts you can get:
- Movie tickets. AMC Theatres offers discounted movie tickets on Thursdays, and you’ll find discounts at other movie chains with your student ID.
- Cellphone plans. Major wireless providers may offer a special rate, if your school participates.
- Food. For days when the cafeteria won’t cut it, Gift Card Granny says you can get 10 percent off at Subway, Waffle House, McDonald’s, Dairy Queen and Burger King, to name a few of the discounts available at restaurant chains for students.
- One-time deals. Many stores will host sales and specials for college students throughout the year. To keep up with the discounts, sign up for a site like CollegeBudget, which keeps a list of current discounts on everything from haircuts to textbooks.