Shopping Discounts College Students May Be Missing Out On

PHOTO: From clothes to food, students can get cheaper stuff just for going to school.Getty Images
From clothes to food, students can get cheaper stuff just for going to school.

One of the occupational hazards of my job is becoming some sort of consumer know-it-all. One of the antidotes is reading others’ great consumer articles. In the October issue of Consumer Reports, my consumer colleagues surprised and delighted me with something I didn’t know: Many retailers offer special discounts just for students.

Then, when I searched around for, like, two minutes, I found other listings, like this one from Brad’s Deals.

Sure, I knew about student discounts on computers and books, but did you know about the deals on clothing, restaurants and travel? I bet lots of college students do — but their parents don’t — so here’s a primer. First of all, a company called UNiDAYS has created a clearinghouse that helps retailers know whether students really are students, so that’s one place to check for evolving discounts. Meanwhile, here are several to get you started:


Ann Taylor/Ann Taylor Loft: 15 percent discount

Banana Republic: 15 percent discount

J. Crew/Madewell: 15 percent discount


Dairy Queen: Participating locations offer a discount or a “Student Meal Deal.”

IHOP: Participating restaurants offer student discounts on a local basis.

Pizza Hut: 10-20 percent discount, depending on location.


Amtrak: Save 10 percent with the Student Advantage Discount Card, which costs $22.50 a year and contains many student offers.

Greyhound: 20 percent discount with the same student discount card.

General Motors: Discounts on Buicks, Chevys and GMCs through the GM College Discount Program.

Have you heard of other great student discounts? Better yet, have you tested them out and scored a success? Then, by all means, “share with the class” in the comments section below!

Opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author.

Elisabeth Leamy is a 20-year consumer advocate for programs such as "Good Morning America" and "The Dr. Oz Show." She is the author of Save BIG and The Savvy Consumer. Elisabeth is also a professional speaker, delivering talks nationwide on saving money, media relations, and career success. Elisabeth receives her best story tips from readers, so please connect with her via Facebook, Twitter or her website, to share your ideas.