College is expensive. Many students struggle to find the funds to attend college and avoid massive student debt. And while student debt is an ongoing issue, there are many ways a student ID can provide big savings elsewhere. Savvy college students can utilize free or discounted activities and products to maximize their college experience and minimize their expenses. Here are eight college perks that you might be missing out on.
1. Reduced or free museum admission
Many museums and art galleries offer free or reduced admission to college students. New York University, for example, has a program called Museum Gateway that grants free admission to nearly a dozen museums and art galleries in New York City.
Even if the college doesn’t have a direct partnership with the museum to provide free admission to students, the museum might still have a student discount. The Museum of Fine Arts Boston, for example, offers free admission with a valid student ID. (See also: 20+ Freebies for College Students)
2. Student discounts on computers
Computers are a vital tool. While students can access computers at local and college libraries, it can be a tad inconvenient. Computer manufacturers have created student discount programs to lower the monetary burden of students who need a computer.
HP Academy offers students 20 percent off HP products.
Dell University offers students 20 percent off Dell products.
Microsoft offers students up to 10 percent off Microsoft computers.
Lenovo offers students 15 percent of Lenovo products.
If you get really lucky, the university might also offer additional savings or a free computer or tablet upon enrollment.
3. Discounted or free software
Software can be essential for a successful college career. Spreadsheets, word processing, presentation programs, and graphics editing programs are expensive. Thankfully, as a student, you are spared the high cost of the programs.
Office 365 is free to all students with a valid student ID. You can either download the programs from your college’s website or from Microsoft.
Adobe offers students 60 percent off the price of their photography and design apps.
4. Free access to gyms and rec centers
Most on-campus colleges tend to have a gym and rec center that are free for students to utilize. The perks offered in the gyms are highly dependent on the school. Perks range from workout equipment, one-on-one personal training, online, or on-site workout classes, lap pools, lazy rivers, hot tubs, rock climbing centers, and indoor recreation rooms for various intramural sports. Gym and rec center memberships are expensive, so it’s definitely worth taking advantage of this perk.
If you’re an online student without access to your university’s gym, private gyms often offer a student discount you can cash in on.
5. Free entertainment
Colleges often offer free admission to movie screenings, plays, guest speakers, sporting events, and concerts. These college-funded events can be great ways to fill your free time without dipping into your bank account.
6. Free mental health counseling and services
College life can be stressful. Students who are mentally and emotionally healthy have a slightly higher chance of succeeding at school. In order to help students maintain a good mental health, many colleges offer free individual, group, or couples therapy. The sessions are meant to help students deal with issues, manage their personal problems, and develop coping strategies. This is a free service that can, in many cases, save your educational career.
7. Discounted airfare and hotels
Whether it’s for summer break, visiting the family, or returning to school, plane tickets and hotels can be horrendously expensive. The good news is that there are travel sites that offer discounted prices to students.
Student Universe lets students buy flights and hotels at a discounted rate. A student ID or class schedule will often be required to prove that you are a student.
CheapOAir has a student travel page that offers discounted rates.
STA Travel offers an International Student Identity Card that provides discounts on flights and hotels.
8. Clothing discounts
Students can receive special discounts at dozens of clothing retailers. This is especially true for students who need more formal clothing for internships or their first job after college.
Once you have a little money to spend, go shopping for a few work-approved outfits before you graduate. Check out Banana Republic, J. Crew, Ann Taylor, Club Monaco, Sam’s Club for student discounts. (See also: 15 Sites Where the Right Email Address Can Save You Money)