Gadgets

Best Student Discounts on Laptops, Streaming Services, Software, and More (2021)

Going to college can be expensive. Between tuition, textbooks, and beer, there isn’t always a lot of wiggle room in the budget. Tack on pandemic-related expenses and you might be wondering just how you’re supposed to manage your money.

One way to stretch those dollars farther is by taking advantage of student discounts. A valid .edu email address can help you save on plenty of academic necessities, with a little left over for binge-watching or cheap food delivery. We’ve rounded up our favorite student discounts below.

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In the Good Old Days, it was easy to cheat your way into student discounts. You could Photoshop a student ID or snag a fake email address for $5 after a Google search. Thanks to third-party verification services, it’s now almost impossible (and in some cases, illegal) to obtain and use a fake qualifying email.

We don’t advise attempting to get a student email address if you aren’t actually a student. (Consider signing up for our Deals newsletter instead!) But some educational discounts can also be used by teachers, parents of students, or alumni. Sometimes getting a student discount is as simple as confirming a code sent from the retailer to the email in question. You might also need to sign up for a free third-party service that retailers use to verify your enrollment.

Unidays is one common discount platform. After signing up for an account, you can verify your student status by uploading a photo of your school ID or by entering your student email address. Your school may also have its own portal to verify your account.

Once verified, you can take advantage of student discounts either on the Unidays website or by logging in to your Unidays account when prompted at stores that use it as an authentication method. ID Me is another service that acts both as a verification method and a shopping portal. Sign up for an account, then add your card to establish your eligibility.

Photograph: Apple

Whether it’s headphones, a laptop, or yet another USB-C dongle, there’s probably a few gadgets on your school shopping list. The stores below offer student discounts on all of the gadgets and gizmos you could need. To find what you need, we suggest checking out our many buying guides, like the Best Laptops, Best Cheap Headphones, and Best Keyboards, and then do some comparison shopping with your favorite retailers.

The Apple education discount generally offers about 10 percent off to students, their parents, and teachers. They sweeten the deals around autumn by throwing in free AirPods with the purchase of a MacBook. You can usually save on services like AppleCare+ too.

To enroll in Best Buy’s exclusive Student Deals program, sign up here. Student deals are available to students and parents of students. Best Buy changes its exclusive offerings pretty frequently, and most of the time there are extra deals available, like discounted video games, microwaves, or PC peripherals. Check out all of the current promotions here.

The Dell University store offers various discounts to those with .edu email addresses. Some Dell University coupon codes can be stacked with other deals at Dell to save even more. Most stores don’t allow for coupon stacking, which makes these deals a bit more enticing.

Sign up for HP education discounts by verifying your .edu email address. HP says eligible shoppers can save up to 35 percent on the products offered.

Lenovo switches up its discounts on a regular basis, but typically, students and teachers can get around 10 percent off. In the past it has also offered bonuses, like free Uber vouchers for spending a certain amount. Accounts are free and verified via ID Me.

Snag 25 off at Logitech by validating your email via Unidays.

Microsoft offers up to 10 percent off a variety of products, including Surface devices and accessories. Parents and students are both eligible.

Samsung’s program is for students, parents, and educators, who get up to 30 percent off laptops, tablets, phones, and other gadgets. Additional deals include free Galaxy Buds with the purchase of select devices and a variety of discounted bundles.

Photograph: Spotify

The services you use every day might be even cheaper thanks to that sweet, sweet institution inbox. Signing up for the first time? Our Best Live TV Streaming Services and Best Music Streaming Services guides can help you decide. Your college or university may also offer their own private discounts. Insurance providers sometimes offer student benefits too.

Students can get a free six-month trial of Amazon Prime (usually that’s limited to one month.) After the trial ends, students will be charged $6.49 per month, rather than the typical $13 price. Prime Student includes a few unique perks, like textbook rentals, free Grubhub Student+ access, and discounted meditation app memberships.

Usually Apple Music costs $10 a month. Students get half off that price. The Apple Music Student subscription also includes Apple TV+. Your eligibility will be verified via Unidays.

Students can get the ad-supported Hulu plan for $2 per month instead of the usual $6 monthly cost. This is the best option if you want access to Hulu but not Spotify.

Spotify Premium Student costs $5 per month, which is a 50 percent discount. It also includes the version of Hulu with commercials and Showtime. If you love your TV, this is one of the best student discounts around, especially if you’re already paying $6 per month for Hulu or $11 per month for Showtime.

Students can get 50 percent off various Tidal premium music streaming memberships. The offer is available to high schoolers as well, not just folks enrolled in higher education.

Unlimited plans are discounted by as much as $25 per month for college students. As is usual with cell phone service providers, terms and conditions apply, but it’s worth looking into if you’re a Verizon customer (or considering making a switch.)

Typically, YouTube Premium costs $12 per month, but the cost drops to $7 for students. The membership includes access to both ad-free YouTube videos and ad-free YouTube Music. There’s a one-month free trial if you’re interested in trying it out.

Photograph: You Need A Budget

Whether your major requires a pricey software download or your homework would be easier with some upgraded tools, students can save on a plethora of tools and website memberships.

Eligible students, parents, and educators get 40 percent off Ableton Live, or apply the same percentage off to Live bundled with Push. This software is especially enticing for music creators, though if you’ve been considering uploading some fun projects to SoundCloud, it might be worth your while too. You don’t need to be a music major to take advantage of the offer. Check out our guide to learning music online for more tips.

Adobe Creative Cloud includes more than 20 apps, including Photoshop, Illustrator, Acrobat Pro, Lightroom, and more. It’s usually $53 a month. Students and educators can get it for $20 monthly. After a year, the $20 price is raised to $30, but it’s still a good discount if you can’t access needed Adobe apps another way.

This bundle includes licenses for Final Cut Pro, Logic Pro, and more. It’s tailored to video and music creators and costs $200. Considering that Final Cut Pro sells for $300 on its own, this bundle is a worthwhile purchase if you plan on buying any of these software licenses individually.

This is a great deal on one of the best password managers.

If you’re interested in exploring productivity tools, Evernote is a pretty popular one. A valid .edu email address gets you 50 percent off a one-year membership.

This freebie from GitHub contains both free and discounted apps, services, software downloads, and more developer tools. From a free year-long subscription to Canva Pro to six months of Dashlane to waived Stripe transaction fees, plus access to GitHub Pro, there are over 100 options to choose from. You don’t need to use them all. You do need to be an enrolled student to get the pack.

Students and educators can use a valid .edu email address to get free access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Teams. Microsoft says the offer is for folks at eligible institutions, but the criteria for an eligible institution seems to be, uh, pretty broad. There are free alternatives to Microsoft Office products, but if you insist on writing essays in Word, it’s worth checking this out.

Prezi offers a slate of tools used to perfect digital presentations. It can be integrated with Zoom, Google Meet, and more. The service has two educational premium plans for students and educators that cost either $3 or $5 per month (usually $15 or $19 per month, respectively).

You need a valid .edu email address for this one. If funds are especially tight, you can also apply to get a free one-year membership. SkillShare offers classes on graphic design, journalism, photography, business marketing, and much more.

Several of our Gear team members have used this service, which is enthusiastically recommended on nearly every finance forum on the Internet. Several of us find it pretty difficult to use, but you might want to give it a shot.

Deals on Clothing, Magazines, and More

Photograph: Djeneba Aduayom

If you need some retail therapy (or you just want to upgrade your dorm room on the cheap), plenty of non-tech stores offer student discounts. Some standouts are highlighted below.

Bring your student ID to the box office to get cheaper prices. Discounts vary by location, so check with your local theater for more details.

Amtrak offers a national student discount to students between 17 and 24 years old.

Unidays is the best way to find fashion retailers that have student discounts. A few athletic and outdoors stores are also listed, so even if you don’t need fancy grown-up job interview clothes, this could be a good way to save on sporting goods and other gear for your extracurricular activities.

Greyhound offers 15 percent off to students via a third-party service called Student Advantage, which also offers discounts on other food and travel services.

Discounts on Magazine and Newspaper Subscriptions

We’re biased, but a year of print and unlimited digital access to WIRED costs $5 per year for students and educators. Students can also save on subscriptions to The Economist, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, Bloomberg, and more. If there’s a magazine or newspaper that you frequently read, it’s likely that you can get a discount when you subscribe.

Museums, Aquariums, Zoos, and Other Venues

Most museums have a student discount on admission. The same goes for places like your local zoo, aquarium, or aquarium. Nothing beats cheap weekend entertainment!


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