Whip Out That Student ID and Receive These 21 Discounts

University students walking together in campus.
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It might seem weird to think of businesses vying for the attention of college kids — after all, students aren’t exactly flush with cash.

But businesses know that getting on your good side as you’re gaining your independence can result in a lot of money for them over time, starting in just a few years when you graduate, get your first full-time salary and figure out how to manage your finances on your own. Plus, college students are tech savvy and love social media, which makes them an asset for businesses.

Savvy execs know how to get your attention: discounts. So grab your student ID and your .edu email address, and check out the many deals reserved just for students.


College kids gotta have fun. Why not hook them in early with great deals?

1. Movie Tickets

Movie theater chains that offer student discounts include AMC Theatres (discounts vary by location), Cinemark (discounts vary by location) and Marcus Theatres ($6 Thursdays). Independent theaters often have student discounts, too — just call and ask.

2. The Arts

Students get discounted access to museums, including major ones such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Want to splurge on an evening at the opera, symphony, theater or ballet? These organizations likely offer discounts, too. So make sure to check before you buy tickets.

3. Professional Sports

Some pro sports teams offer special student rates or offer them on certain dates. Check their websites for promotions before you go.

Also, sites like SeatGeek and StubHub can help you save money on ticket purchases. Sure, they’re not student deals, but compare them to see which discount saves you more cash.

Computers, Software and Education Stuff

Students need computers, gadgets and all other goodies to complete their school work. Now’s the perfect time to get them hooked on your brand with discounts.

4. Hardware

Apple, Microsoft, Dell, Best Buy, HP and Lenovo all offer student discounts on their equipment, so there’s no reason to pay full price.

5. Software

If you need software, you’ll probably get a great deal at your campus bookstore or IT department.

  • Microsoft Office 365 is free for college students with a valid school email address
  • Adobe offers a student discount for creative cloud for $10 per month instead of $50. This requires valid school email address
  • Amazon offers student discounts for software

6. News

Students can save on digital and print subscriptions to newspapers and magazines such as The Economist, The New York Times and the The Wall Street Journal.

7. Textbooks

Even as ebooks and tablets become the norm, plenty of your classes still require old-school, physical textbooks. Plenty of websites help you find great deals on used textbooks and re-sell yours when you’re finished. Barnes & Noble even has a textbook rental program.

Travel and Transportation

From spring break to just heading home to see the ‘rents, students can save big on travel expenses with these tips.

8. Lodging and Airfare

If you’re planning lots of travel during your college years, consider getting a student ID or discount card. Also, check out these websites that offer airfare and hotel discounts to students.

9. Car Rentals

Show your student ID at major car rental dealers such as Budget, Avis and Hertz to get up to 20% off. Remember, there are some age restrictions when renting a car.

10. Buses, Trains and Planes

Amtrak and Greyhound offer student discounts, although the Greyhound discount requires you to purchase a Student Advantage card. Some public transit authorities, such as the MTA in Chicago, also offer reduced rates for students. If you’re planning a trip across Europe, a Eurail train pass is discounted for travelers under age 27.

11. Cars and Insurance

Buying a used car is likely your best bet. However, if you’re in the market for a new car, check into the General Motors student discount. Also, most major car insurance companies offer deals for students, so make sure you compare them all to find the best rates.

Other Shopping

Saving on day-to-day items is a huge part of a college student’s life. Here’s how you can save a few bucks here and there.

12. Upromise

If you need to save for upcoming tuition for yourself, your child or another relative, or already have student loans through Sallie Mae, you can join its Upromise shopping program to earn money toward those costs. You can even share your shopping link with friends and family to earn faster.

13. Amazon

Check out Amazon.com’s student program for free two-day shipping and special discounts on certain items. Along with the free shipping, you also get Twitch Prime, Prime Video and more.

14. Clothes and Retail

Plenty of clothing stores offer student discounts. Banana Republic and J. Crew are just a few that can get you suited up for that first job or internship. Here’s a helpful list of student-friendly retail stores.

Banking, Budgets and Credit

Properly handling money is just a part of growing up. Here are a few places that help students learn just that on the cheap.

15. Banking

If you need a new checking or savings account, you’ll find plenty of great bonus offers, and some are student-specific, like those at Bank of America, U.S. Bank and Chase. However, pay attention to maintenance and overdraft fees — those will cost you more over the long term.

16. Credit Cards

Many banks offer credit cards just for students, but don’t be fooled by introductory offers. The regular interest rate is more important.

17. Budgeting

You Need a Budget budget software is free to college students for a year, so there’s no excuse not to use it.

Freebies on Campus

Sometimes, you don’t even have to stray off campus to get a great deal. Here are a few deal ideas you can score near your dorm.

18. Food

Are you paying for a campus meal plan? Make sure you get your money’s worth! Grab some fruit or cereal on your way out to take home for later, if your dining hall permits this. You’ll also find other free food on campus at open house events, public lectures and club activities.

19. Events

You probably already know about campus entertainment opportunities like pep rallies and intramural sports, but don’t forget that you also have access to free educational events and lectures.

20. Health and Fitness

You won’t get free access to that nice campus rec center after graduation, so make sure to use it now. Also, take advantage of your college’s health center services, along with its complementary bandages, condoms and tissues.

21. Promotional Stuff

Here’s a weird tip: Most academic departments on campus have their own promotional pens — you can start quite a collection! Also keep your eyes open for opportunities for free T-shirts and other spirit gear.

Remember: You’re only a college student for a few years. It never hurts to ask if a business offers a student discount, so always keep your ID handy.

Lindsay Luebbering is a freelance writer and former journalist living in Cincinnati, Ohio. She helps people and businesses communicate in clear, consistent and compelling ways.