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10 Places Smart Students Look for Discounts

Posted on 8/4/2015 9:10 EST

A student ID can do more than just get you around campus -- it can save money at many businesses. Don't be shy about flashing your ID or .edu email address when making purchases. With these discounts, students on a budget can dress, eat, travel, and live better for less.

student discounts
Photo by Monkey Business Images/shutterstock

Apps and Resources.

Apps are an easy way to find student discounts. Free for Android and iOS, TUN (The University Network) finds local deals on food, entertainment, fitness, and textbooks. It searches for free local events and has a rewards system to increase savings. The Ibotta app awards cash back for completing tasks such as taking a poll or watching a video. UNiDAYS compiles student discounts to redeem online. For $20 a year (or $50 for four years), the Student Advantage Card gives students 16 and up exclusive -- often very large -- discounts from a wide variety of stores, travel services, and entertainment venues.

Cellphone Plans.

Reduce monthly cellphone bills by using student status. Sprint offers a reduced rate, usually around 10 percent off, to students at certain colleges and universities, as does AT&T. T-Mobile's Advantage program caters to students with various discounts, plus a $50 credit when signing up.


Show a valid school ID or give a .edu email address at Urban Outfitters, ASOS, Topshop, Charlotte Russe, Goodwill, and Steve Madden to get 10 percent off. Do it at J. Crew, The Limited, Ann Taylor Loft, Banana Republic, or Madewell and watch 15 percent of the total disappear. And at Ann Taylor and Club Monaco, get 20 percent off the purchase price. Target sometimes runs student promotions, as well, usually for online shopping. Check StudentRate and RetailMeNot for student deals on Toms shoes.


Although not highly publicized, student discounts are granted by many food chains, including Chipotle, Subway, Pizza Hut, Qdoba, Papa John's, Dairy Queen, Waffle House, Hard Rock Café, Burger King, McDonald's, and Domino's -- usually 10 percent off or a special deal (such as a free beverage or appetizer) in select areas. Save 5 percent on groceries at participating Kroger stores in 31 states or seek out deals at smaller chains. Marsh Supermarkets in Indiana and Ohio gives students 10 percent off on Saturdays. The website Campus Special runs a food delivery service to dorms at more than 500 universities nationwide with reward points, deals, and offers.

Fitness and Sports.

Crunch and Gold's are two gyms that offer student rates and promotions yearly or over the summer. Core Power Yoga, with studios in 13 states, offers student discounts as well. For skiing and snowboarding, the college edition of the New England Pass provides season access to slopes in New Hampshire and Maine for $359, compared with $1,085 for an adult pass. Several Colorado ski resorts also offer reduced-price season passes. For equipment purchases and rentals, check out Eastern Mountain Sports stores, where a student ID earns 15 percent off many goods and 20 percent off the store brand. Plenty of professional sports teams feature student offers such as discounts for weekday games.


Most car insurance companies have incentives for maintaining a good GPA -- usually a B average (3.0) or better. State Farm offers up to 25 percent off for good grades (until age 25, regardless of graduation date) and Esurance grants up to 10 percent off; a transcript is required. Allstate, Travelers Insurance, and Geico offer similar discounts, some requiring full-time college attendance. Other rate reductions, such as State Farm's "Student Away" benefit, apply to students attending college far away and driving the insured car only periodically, when visiting home. Allstate has a discount worth up to 30 percent off for students more than 100 miles away.

Movies and Entertainment.

Thursday is Student Day at participating AMC theaters; go with an ID for lower ticket prices. At Regal Cinemas, check for student discount information for the theater, movie, and time you select when buying a ticket. The Cinemark Theatres website has a list of locations that offer student discounts. Student tickets are often available for plays, musicals, the ballet, and the opera. Check with the students services office for discounted tickets to amusement parks and other attractions.

Subscriptions and Memberships.

You probably know about Amazon Student -- but if not, you should. For $49 a year, students receive Amazon Prime benefits such as free two-day shipping and video streaming, as well as deals on products specific to collegians such as campus gear, textbooks, and school supplies. Sam's Club offers a reduced-cost Collegiate Membership and a $15 gift card when college students sign up. (Young Costco fans are out of luck.) Publications including The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times offer large student discounts on subscriptions and more magazines offer discounts through the site StudentMags. Music lovers should know that streaming service Spotify offers students half off its premium membership, and Jay-Z's new Tidal music service reduces the price for members with .edu addresses.


Education pricing at the Apple Store includes up to $200 off a new laptop or desktop computer and up to $20 off an iPad. Apple also offers student payment plans that spread costs over as many as 48 months. Dell University has been known to offer deals in which a PC purchase of $700 or more includes a free 32-inch TV. The Microsoft Store offers 10 percent off any order (for Mac or PC) from a .edu email address, as well as a free copy of Office 365 Education for Students (including Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook, One Note, Publisher, and Access) at qualifying schools. Norton, Adobe, and Sony also provide student discounts.


Students can save big on travel. A $20 Student Advantage Discount Card nets 20 percent off Greyhound bus tickets and 10 percent off Amtrak tickets booked online. Coach USA promotes a VIP Student Travel Club with exclusive offers, and Zipcar works with some universities to provide reduced student rates. Sign up for free at Student Universe, verify you're a student, and you can search for deals on tours, flights, and hotels. STA Travel can save students money in Europe with 35 percent off Eurail trips for those 25 or younger. Be sure to ask about reduced rates at museums, aquariums, and other attractions. For students on tight budgets, there's no shame in asking about policies that allow visitors to donate as little (or as much) as they want, or get in for free.

by Gina Martinez

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