Find discounts to slash college costs.
With the growing cost of tuition each year, college student discounts are one savvy way to spend less. In 2020, college students and their families plan to spend an average of about $1,059 per family on back-to-school shopping, according to the National Retail Federation, with college students spending the most on electronics. To curb some of these costs, here are 20 college student discounts to consider.
Amazon Prime subscription
From last-minute necessities to dorm room decor, students will undoubtedly rely on Amazon deliveries while in college. After providing a valid student email address, students can receive six months of free Amazon Prime, which includes free two-day shipping on eligible items. After the free trial ends, students can continue to get faster Prime shipping at a discounted rate for four years or until they graduate.
Whether listening to a book for class or unwinding on the weekends, college students can take advantage of discounts on audiobooks. Students can get 30% off at Audible, an audiobook subscription platform. The monthly cost is about $10 for students, and this discount lasts for one year but can be renewed -- plus, students receive a $10 Amazon.com promotional credit when they sign up.
Banking and finances
As college students move away from home and turn 18 years old, it may be time to open their first bank account if they haven't already. Typically, banks charge fees to open and keep a new checking or savings account. However, individuals who open a digital student account at PNC Bank, for example, benefit from no monthly service charges for up to six years. At Chase Bank, college students ages 17 to 24 will have no monthly service charge for up to five years when they open a checking account, and can also benefit from overdraft protections.
Name brands like Mac Cosmetics, Sigma Beauty and Paula's Choice offer college student discounts, typically around 10% off, with a valid student email and account. Unlocking some of these beauty product discounts requires verifying student status through Student Beans, a student discount platform.
Students have many options to save money on textbooks for college, but bookstores also offer discounts that can be used for leisure reading. Students can get a 10% discount on purchases through Book Outlet, for example. Some local bookstores in college towns also offer student discounts when customers show their student ID card.
"Students who receive good grades can get discounts on insurance through companies like AllState, Nationwide and Geico," says Jodi Okun, founder and president of College Financial Aid Advisors. Experts say that parents can also receive reduced premiums if their student attends college away from his or her hometown and doesn't bring a car to campus.
Many students choose not to bring a car to college. To get around when needed, students can take advantage of discounts at rental car companies. Alamo Rent a Car, for example, offers a student advantage membership program that provides discounted rates, though rates will vary based on rental date, location and vehicle type. Zipcar also offers special rates for students at participating universities, starting at about $25 annually for a student membership.
To help manage hefty cellphone and data bills, some wireless service providers offer college student discounts. Verizon, for example, offers students who have one line the option to save $10 per month on an unlimited plan.
Whether it's to reinvent a wardrobe at college or buy a suit for that first job interview, there are several ways to cut apparel costs with retail discounts. Many major retail chains -- J. Crew, Banana Republic, Champion and Kate Spade, to name a few -- offer between 10% to 15% price reductions with a valid student ID card.
Although a student's first stop for software might be at the campus bookstore or computer store, experts say to shop around. "Don't settle on the first price you see," Okun says. Once students have the computer they need, some will also require software tools to complete school work and explore creative interests. Adobe, a computer software company that created programs like Adobe InDesign and Adobe Illustrator, offers a student discount of 60% on its Creative Cloud, a collection of tools. Students may also want to protect their devices from viruses and malware. Norton offers multiple discounts for students on different forms of security software that range from about $20 to $90 for the first year after the student discount is applied.
When students have downtime between exams, they may seek entertainment options, depending on safety guidelines in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Students can typically find discounts at movie theaters and museums. For example, the student cost of admission at New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art is $12 compared with $25 for regular admittance.
Exercise and outdoor gear
Students who want to stay active on campus can check out gyms, yoga studios and other exercise classes at a discounted price. Dragonfly Hot Yoga in Wisconsin, for instance, offers a discounted student membership, costing $99 per month for unlimited classes. This discounted price is available to high school, college, technical school or university students. For those who want to get outdoors, student discounts at bike shops are also available. Solé Bicycles, a bike shop based in California, provides a 15% discount to students on bikes and gear.
U.S. families plan to spend about $130 on average per family on back-to-college dorm or apartment furnishings in 2020. But there are some national home store retailers that offer discounts for students to deck out their college room. Pottery Barn, for example, offers a 15% savings for consumers with an .edu email address or valid college student ID.
College students short on time can have their groceries delivered at a discounted price. For instance, students can get 50% off at Shipt on same-day grocery delivery, which is available in more than 165 cities. Thrive Market, an organic and natural food delivery service, provides free memberships to low-income families, veterans, teachers and students as well as a 25% to 50% discount on groceries.
"They should start with the bookstore at the college and see what they offer and then see what they can find if it's comparable," says Kathy Ruby, director of college finance at College Coach, who says computer discounts through a university might be dependent on where they purchase their laptops. Students can also receive education discounts on computers through many technology brands. Apple Inc., for example, offers a deal on a MacBook that allows college students to save $200 and get free AirPods included with the purchase, plus 20% off on AppleCare+ service and support.
Newspaper, magazine and music subscriptions
Students can also receive a knocked-down price on subscriptions for newspapers, magazines and music streaming services. A New York Times subscription for students is discounted from $15 per month to $4 per month, for example. Swedish music streaming service Spotify offers students a premium membership for about $5 a month. But experts say make sure to read the fine print and understand the terms of the discounts. "Students get easily wrapped into subscription services and they easily add up. So pay attention to what you're spending," Ruby says.
"Restaurants, locally, in a college town, often will offer discounts to certain groups of students," Ruby says. "In a college town like Ithaca, there will be local businesses that offer discounts -- and it'll be clothing stores or restaurants that you may not find in a regular city."
For students interested in sports, a number of cost savings can be found through sporting goods retailers, fitness chains and professional teams. While the future of sporting events is in question as the novel coronavirus continues to spread in the U.S., when safe, students can take advantage of special ticket rates to see professional sporting teams such as the Baltimore Ravens and the Chicago Bulls. And for those who want to spend part of the winter season on the slopes, there are ski passes just for college students. The New England Pass and Colorado ski resorts offer discounted skiing all season long to college students.
"If students live in a metropolitan area, some colleges offer a semester pass to use public transportation at a discounted rate," Okun says. "Some travel companies, such as Greyhound, have a student advantage discount card that will give students a 20% discount." Some U.S. public transportation systems also offer student pricing. Houston's bus and light rail network, for example, offers students reduced fares at half the normal price.
When it's safe to do so, students might consider taking advantage of student travel discounts. Students can get deals on flights and on everything from luggage storage to hostel stays. StudentUniverse advertises discounted rates for students on flights across the world that are up to 30% off. Hostel Hopper gives students 10% off on hostel stays with the discount code "Student."
Find more ways to save during college.
The search to tackle college costs with discounts shouldn't end here. Follow U.S. News Education on Facebook and Twitter to join the conversation and stay informed about the latest tips and advice on paying for college.
College student discounts
-- Amazon Prime subscription
-- Banking and finances
-- Beauty products
-- Car insurance
-- Car rentals
-- Computer software
-- Exercise and outdoor gear
-- Newspaper, magazine and music subscriptions