Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hidden Savings for College Students

It’s no secret that movie theaters, restaurants and museums give student discounts, but for those who know where to look, getting an education can also mean getting a great deal on all kinds of products and services. For incoming freshmen as well as lifelong learners, being a college student can mean significant savings on everything from software to sky diving lessons.

Journey Ed is an online retailer specializing in student software. The site offers huge savings for any verified student and pricing gets even better when accessed through partner institutions, such as Tempe-based Rio Salado College.

For example, Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Design Premium which retails for $1899 on the Adobe website can be found for $360 when purchased through the Rio Salado bookstore.

According to Rio Salado adjunct faculty member Matt Freed, students in his digital animation class are often surprised by the value of student pricing.

“I don’t think people realize what a benefit the software discounts can be,” Freed said. “Flash by itself is about $700. For the same price you can get the entire Adobe suite and a college level course in digital animation. “

Computer hardware can also come at much lower prices for students. Apple and Microsoft both have exclusive deals for students with a verifiable .edu email address. With Apple education pricing on a new MacBook Pro and Microsoft’s offer of a free Xbox 360 4GB with the purchase of a qualifying Windows 7 computer, students on both platforms stand to save about $200.

Because many students leave home for college, quite a few travel websites and agencies specialize in providing affordable pricing to student travelers. StudentUniverse.com and StaTravel.com are both great resources for student pricing on flights and hotels.

Reliable ground transportation can also be a concern for college students. While discounted bus passes are a popular option, automobile manufacturers GM and Scion provide buying incentives to students who prefer to drive their own car. In some circumstances, cash back savings can be several thousand dollars. With auto insurance companies like Geico, State Farm or Allstate offering Good Student discounts, doing well in school can mean an additional savings of several hundred dollars a year.

Matthew Gunderson is a big fan of student discounts. “I’m not afraid to ask for a student discount even when there isn’t one advertised,” Gunderson said. “I’ve used my student ID to save money on movies, clothing, dinner...you name it. A lot of places will give a discount even if they don’t have a sign up that says so.”

Although full-time students who are out on their own for the first time and struggling to make the rent may be the inspiration for all of these discounts, anyone with a student ID can benefit from them.

Additional resources for those looking to make the most of their student status can be found at studentrate.com and studentbasecamp.us or for a yearly fee, students can join discount clubs like Student Advantage or Edhance which provide access to thousands of worldwide discounts.

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