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Student Discounts: Save by Showing Your College ID

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Being a college student is expensive, and being a broke college student is common but frustrating. Start taking advantage of that little piece of plastic you keep in your wallet and start saving big. That’s right: in addition to serving as your library card and your dining hall pass, your student ID can get you huge discounts on all different kinds of things!

From retail stores and restaurants to ticket prices and salon services, being a poor college student can have its advantages! Your college most likely has some sort of student affairs department, and their office should be able to give you a list (or at least some tips) on where to get student discounts.

Retail Discounts for College Students

College students need computers. That’s a fact. The popularity of iMacs and iPads is creating a cult of Apple fans, but the high prices of Apple products are a bit hard on the wallet when you’re working weekends and earning eight bucks an hour. The Apple Store realizes this, and offers discounts to students! The Apple Store for Education section of Apple’s website specifies that “Faculty and staff of Higher Education institutions; and students attending, or accepted into a Higher Education institution are eligible to purchase.” Keep in mind that there are purchase limitations. Apple will keep track of what you buy and when you buy it in order to prevent you for making purchases for everyone you know just to get them a discount. That’s only fair.

Academic Superstore is another online merchant that offers student discounts on various computer products, software, and electronics. One great deal is the newly-released Adobe Creative Suite 5 Student and Teacher Edition for under $450, considering that the regular retail price is $1899! This is just one of many great deals I found on the site, which I have used for software purchases in the past. Academic Superstore does require your student status to be verified— you’ll need to provide a copy of your current student ID, course schedule, registration receipt for the current semester, or a letter of enrollment written on official school letterhead.

Purchasing computers and electronics isn’t the only way to get student discounts. Sam’s Club offers a Collegiate Membership for $40 which comes with a $15 Sam’s Club gift card. Although it doesn’t come with any “percentage off” discount at the register, you can buy certain things in bulk and split the cost with a friend or roommate to save money.

I learned that the art supply store Pearl offered student discounts when I was taking graphic design courses. They sell many things besides paint and art supplies, such as scrapbooking materials and arts and crafts items that you may need for fundraisers or club meetings on campus.

J Crew, Club Monaco, and Pier 1 are other fashionable stores which offer little-mentioned student discounts, and plenty of other retail establishments will give you a discount when you show your student ID— just ask and see what happens.

Food Discounts for College Students

Local eateries near your college campus may offer discounts for students. Some even host “Student Night” (specials similar to the “Kids Eat Free” promotions held on certain nights of the week at chain restaurants). Many pizza places offer discounts for picking up your own pizza instead of having it delivered.

Check the campus bulletin boards or look for flyers in student lounges. Chances are, if local restaurants thrive on college students, they’ll advertise their special deals all around campus. Some fast-food chains like McDonald’s or Burger King occasionally grant students 10% off if they show their student ID. Those discounts are typically not advertised, so ask and see what they tell you.

Admission Discounts for College Students

Your student ID can also save you money when it’s time to pay admission fees! You can usually get student-rate tickets to Broadway and off-Broadway plays if you have your ID with you when you purchase them. They’re not the greatest seats in the theater, but hey—- you’re at a Broadway play at a considerable discount!

Museums around the country offer student discounts as well. If you’re in New York City and saving on Broadway, be sure to take advantage of the discounts on museum admission prices as well! The Metropolitan Museum of Art has substantial student discounts, and most museums around the country have some sort of special price for students.

Movie theaters are another great place to save. Many movie theater chains, including Cinemark and AMC, offer some sort of discount movie ticket price with a valid student ID. Be sure to ask if you’re visiting a different theater chain because they probably have some sort of special price for students, too.

Discounted Services for College Students

If you’re on your parents’ auto insurance policy, they may be able to receive a discount if you’re in college and earning good grades. Good grades show that you are responsible, and therefore (hopefully!) not going to get into any traffic accidents. Have your parents inquire with their auto insurance agency to find out for sure.

Your college campus probably has its own fitness center, but if you prefer to work out elsewhere or you live off campus, some gyms have special rate plans for students.

I’ve also noticed that many salons also offer student rates for services such as haircuts, manicures and pedicures.

Student Discount Cards

Discount cards are another great way to save money during college. You can purchase the Student Advantage discount card online for about $20 and receive discounts from national chains and online merchants. A few notable places where you’d save money include Greyhound bus fares, Target.com, Verizon Wireless, and Pearle Vision.

Some college organizations create their own discount cards to sell as fundraisers. A team or group will solicit various local businesses and ask them to offer a discount to anyone who brings in the discount card, and a card is printed up with a list of places offering discount rates. The group’s fundraiser will act as free promotion for the local businesses when the cards are sold on campus for a flat fee. The profits go toward whatever the group was raising funds for in the first place, and the local businesses should receive repeat repeat business from the card carriers because they’re receiving a discount.

These are just a few of many ways I’ve learned that college students can receive discounts simply because they’re in college and have a student ID. Who ever knew that being broke was helpful? If you know of any other places which offer student discounts, please let us know!


Apple Store for Education

Academic Superstore

Student Advantage Discount Card


Melissa Rhone+

Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.

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