Hundreds of businesses offer discounts, yet students need help identifying the deals
It’s no surprise that college is expensive. In order to decrease the burden – and attract college-aged customers – businesses across the U.S. offer discounts for college students provided they have a valid student ID card. Students can routinely find deals at numerous clothing stores, restaurants, and retailers, receiving in excess of 10% to 15% discounts.
Deals are available at a variety of clothing stores that students frequent, including Forever21, H&M, Charlotte Russe and Banana Republic, as well as dining discounts at Burger King, Chick-Fil-A, Chipotle and Subway. Lesser-known deals, however, can get students cheaper monthly bills for car insurance payments through Allstate and Geico, and discounts on cell phone bills through Verizon. While these discounts take off only a small percentage, it can still be significant for students’ monthly expenses.
Despite the savings on offer, many students remain unaware of the value that their campus card holds. “All I know is that, with my ID card, you put money on the card to pay for laundry and to get into buildings,” says Florida State University student, Jordan Geon.
One possible reason for this lack of awareness could be that some institutions don’t heavily advertise their campus card deals. “When we got our ID cards, the only thing [the institution] told us was how to use our cards on campus. I didn’t even know that they could be used off-campus,” says Jodi Traster, another student at Florida State.
A lack of advertising or simple work-of-mouth could be contributing to students’ lack of awareness regarding campus card discounts. It’s an unfortunate reality, as university personnel put in significant work to establish these deals in an attempt to save students money.
How institutions can spread the word
There’s no magic-bullet solution, but universities looking increase the value of their campus card can start by compiling a list of businesses and merchants that offer discounts. This process can be time-consuming, and making a list of all the businesses that offer discounts – nationally and locally – may seem daunting.
But at Arizona State University, for example, discounts through the campus card are helping students on a tight budget to enjoy more experiences that the surrounding city has to offer. The university’s Business and Finance page posts a list containing various discounts.
Elsewhere, Pittsburgh State University has dedicated website for discounts offered by local businesses. Pittsburgh State encourages its students to shop at local businesses and foster the town-and-gown relationship because it is “a great way for students of PSU and local merchants to develop a mutually exclusive business.”
Other campuses have supplemented their online endeavors with reminders placed on physical merchandise. Florida State advertises their local businesses’ discounts in student academic planners, as an example.
Observing your campus culture and the student population’s interests could also be of value. For colleges focused on the arts, highlighting art-related businesses that may offer student discounts could be an effective means to draw attention to campus card deals. For example, NYU’s website highlights museums that offer free entry to NYUCard holders.
“It would help if they gave us a list, or they could advertise their discounts all over campus, like how Florida State advertises their meal plan offers,” Traster adds, referring to the meal-plan posters that Florida State University has displayed throughout campus. The posters are displayed in residence halls, as well as digitally on the university’s official website.
A simple online search can identify retailers that offer student discounts. Compiled lists aside, though, simply reminding students to be proactive while shopping could make the campus card sitting in their wallet a more central thought when they reach the till. When it comes to discounts, it never hurts to ask!