The transition from high school to college for many young people also means transitioning to independent life and paying your way through it. That’s on top of the fact that education costs an arm and a leg. Luckily, many private and state-supported organizations offer college student benefits that help them stay afloat. Moreover, brands often give away freebies to students with the view to make them into loyal customers once young people regain their feet.
To make sure you won’t miss out on any great opportunities, we have put together this list of free stuffs for students. Some of those are available online, while some can only be claimed at brick-and-mortar locations. However, get ready to produce proof that you are indeed a student – your ID, your .edu email, or, in some cases, enrollment letter, transcript, or tuition statement.
Essential Freebies for College Students
Some of the college student freebies we have partially covered in our list of student discounts, so go and check it out. As the saying goes, a penny saved is a penny earned. Here are some other nice things that can be free for students.
Free books for students
It’s not a secret that apart from the tuition, course books are the biggest expenditure rubric in your budget. Even renting them sometimes comes at a hefty price, which is hardly fair, since you will only need them for a year or even a term. Luckily, there are places where you can get your textbooks free!
Based at Rice University, this online nonprofit gives access to openly licensed college textbooks. They also hold free webinars to teach you about using OpenStax and other open educational resources and have a courseware tool OpenStax Tutor.
This is an online collection of free medical literature on nearly 90 specialized subjects from Addiction to Virology, in English, Spanish, German, French, and Portuguese. You can browse books by topic, rating, impact, popularity, and year. There is also a sister website Free Medical Journals, with an impressive collection of scholarly periodicals.
The “revolution” in the name is a bit dramatic but very apt since the site is student-run. Here you can get free educational materials in e-book, PDF, multimedia, and site content formats. If you cannot find what you are looking for in the free section, Textbook Revolution also offers a search for discounted books.
Open Educational Resources Commons
A community of digital librarians is curating this collection of openly licensed books and other educational resources. You can search the books by keywords or browse them by subject – Science, Arts and Humanities, Business and Communication, Law, History, etc.
Our Free Essay Database
By the way, if theory alone isn’t instructive enough, you can always find practical samples in our free essay database. You can access it any time, without even signing up. It’s available for everyone but was created first and foremost with students like you in mind.
Free transport services
This depends on where you live, but many areas provide free public transport for college students, for example, Sacramento, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Kansas City. Sometimes, the rides aren’t exactly free but discounted and college-supported. Still, it’s much cheaper than regular ones.
The transportation company offers free rides on their DASH Buses for K-12 and college students in Los Angeles. To benefit, you should get a Student Reduced Fare TAP card and use it when you board. To get a card, apply online, by post, or in-person, provide proof of enrollment, and the card will be mailed to you.
Denver Regional Transportation District
CollegePass provides unlimited bus and rail rides for a nominal cost, which is factored into tuition fees. It also offers some additional benefits, such as free trips to and from the airport. Check the RTD’s official website to see if your school participates.
Free museum admissions
Columbia University Arts Initiative
CU has a “Passport to Museums” program. Through it, you have free admission to over 30 NYC museums! All you need is your student ID with a validation sticker for the current semester. Plus, there are open entrances to many NY performances and events.
Houston Museum District
There are plenty of museums in Houston offering discounted entrance for students, but some are absolutely free to the public or at least have free days (usually Thursdays). Among them: Houston Museum of Natural Science, The Museum of Fine Arts, The Health Museum, The Houston Zoo, Art Car Museum, Buffalo Soldiers National Museum, Houston Museum Of African American Culture, Holocaust Museum Houston, Asia Society Texas Center, Czech Center Museum Houston, and others.
Free Museum Days in Chicago
You can visit the Museum of Contemporary Art, Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, and Swedish American Museum free on specific days of the week. Year-round open admissions are at Chicago Cultural Center, Lincoln Park Zoo, Loyola University Museum of Art, Clarke House Museum, National Museum of Mexican Art, and Museum of Contemporary Photography.
Also, check with your school administration if they offer any specific cultural programs for their students and look out for free days in your area.
Free Things for College Students
Museums and books might provide intellectual nourishment, but students are material girls and boys. Sometimes they need material things to thrive. That’s why many brands and companies offer free things for students. Here are some of the products you can get for free.
Computers with causes
This nonprofit provides donated and refurbished computers to people who need them but cannot afford to buy them. Since a computer is an essential tool for a modern student, you can apply. Your request will be assessed, and you will be matched with a device that fits your needs best. However, to qualify, you must be in a difficult situation, and your financial need must be genuine and dire.
Free food for college students
If you are a student, some restaurants will give you free drinks with your order. Among them are Chick-fil-A, Qdoba, Chipotle, and many other fast-food chains. Just show your student ID at checkout and ask if you are entitled to a freebie.
Free food on campus
The website searches your campus for any events where you can get a free treat as a guest. Visit freefoodcampus.com, choose your state on the map, then your school from the list that appears, and you will get all the details.
Pocket points app
However, if you don’t want to wait for a free event coming down your street, you can start earning your free food points in this awesome app. Points accrued for abstaining from your phone during classes and while driving. Then, you can exchange points for discount coupons or a freebie from Chick-fil-A, Papa John’s, Smoothie King, Insomnia Cookies, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Pizza Hut, Firehouse Subs, Buffalo Wild Wings, and many others. That is what I call positive reinforcement!
Free sign-up promotions
Many food apps give you a welcome freebie – an appetizer, a dessert, a side, a sandwich, or a drink. That’s on top of the order but still helps to save a buck or two. Here are some of the places that offer you free stuff for signing up to their apps or mailing lists: Applebee’s, Baskin Robbins, Chipotle, Cinnamon, Dunkin’ Donuts, Einstein Bros Bagels, Firehouse Subs, Hardee’s, IHOP, Johnny Rockets, Krispy Kreme, Longhorn Steakhouse, McDonald’s, Olive Garden, Papa Gino’s, Raising Cane, Schlotzksy’s Deli, Texas Roadhouse, Wild Wing Café, Yogurtland, and Zaxby’s.
Free meals from the employer
Students often find employment at fast-food restaurants and cafes because those places offer flexible hours. Moreover, employers often through free meals into a bargain. Better still, some of them even help you to pay your tuition fees (Taco Bell, McDonald’s, Starbucks, Pizza Hut, KFC, and Chipotle, to name a few.)
Free samples for college students
Students are young, energetic, and enthusiastic. Brands know that and love tapping into this source for launching new products or campaigns. They often have tables set around campuses with free samples they just give away. If you see one, don’t miss the opportunity and grab your free stuff.
You don’t have to be a big influencer to benefit from freebies. You can email a company whose products you love and ask for free samples to test and review. Being a student on campus and having an outgoing personality is quite enough to be of use to them and create a buzz among your community.
Companies that are generous with samples
Some companies have adopted the free samples strategy and become famous for it. They don’t care how many subscribers you have on Instagram or TikTok. They will just send you free stuff if you sign up for their mailing list. Among them are Olay, Kotex, Sephora, Gillette, Proctor & Gamble, Betty Crocker, Allure, Yogi Tea, and even Amazon! Amazon has a product sampling program where you can opt for free stuff on your preferences page.
Free money and coupons
Swagbucks is a system where you can earn points (Swag Bucks) towards free gift cards. All you have to do is sign up to Swagbucks, and complete simple tasks, like answering surveys, watching entertaining videos, playing games, shopping online as you usually do, etc. Your SW points can be exchanged for real money to your PayPal account or gift cards for Amazon, Walmart, Target, Domino’s, Google Play, and iTunes.
Mobee is a mystery shopping app. Download the app to see available mystery shopping missions near you. Missions involve visiting restaurants, shopping at retail stores, and providing your feedback on the experience by taking photos inside and filling up a survey about it. For completing these tasks, you get points you can exchange for gift cards for Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, Target Walmart, and Best Buy.
With the Slidejoy app, you can make money by watching news and ads on your phone. The app displays the content on your lock screen, and you keep using your phone as usual – nothing intrusive and disruptive. The points earned you can then redeem for gift cards for Amazon, Walmart, Starbucks, Google Play Store, and Steam.
Free Stuff with Edu Email
Okay, now for the real treasure trove. Did you know that you can get free stuff with student email? That .edu opens many doors! Here are just some of the big ones.
Free software with student email
Office 365 Education gives you access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Teams, Forms, Sway, and some additional classroom tools to work on the projects and collaborate with classmates. There is also free cloud storage to boot. The entire pack is absolutely free with a .edu email – for students and educators alike.
LastPass is software that keeps your passwords safe, so no one can steal them, but you don’t have to remember them all. Students get premium membership free, however, only for six months. Still, not bad: half a year of unlimited synchronization to unlimited devices and unlimited peace of mind.
You get free access to nearly 60 tools for engineering, architecture, animation, design, and 3D modeling. The access is renewable for as long as you remain a student – you will need to confirm your eligibility every year.
Students can download the company’s simulation software free to train themselves and prepare for their future careers in engineering. Apart from software products, there are tutorials, webinars, and example problems to solve and learn!
Intel Developer Zone
With your .edu email, you get free access to Intel’s select software development tools for the creation and modernization of code, system-wide optimization, code analysis, etc.
For students who want to learn coding, there is free access to JetBrains’ range of developer tools. Access is renewable until your graduation. However, even after that, you get a 25% discount.
Free subscriptions for students
Amazon Prime Student
Signing up with your .edu email, you get 6 months free of Amazon Prime. When the term expires, you can cancel or continue the subscription at a discounted student price. Meanwhile, you have free two-day shipping, Prime Video streaming, Prime reading, and unlimited cloud space for your photos. Plus, you have free access to The Washington Post online.
If your school uses GSuite, your .edu email entitles you to unlimited storage on Google Drive at no cost. This is a particularly nice freebie since no paid plan can buy you unlimited storage – the top is 30TB a month. You will hardly need so much for your studying purposes, but you never know.
For every baseball fan on campus, there is a free MLB.TV access. You will have to use your ID.me for verification, which is very fast and safe.
The New York Times
You can get 4 weeks free of unlimited access to articles. After that, as a student, you are eligible for an impressive discount and pay only $2 every four weeks.
Free services for college students
Free checking accounts
Many banks have a special student checking accounts that have no maintenance fees. For example, US Bank Student Checking Account, Regions LifeGreen Checking Account for Students, TD Convenience Checking, Chase College Checking, and Bank of America Student Banking.
Many professional organizations provide students with free memberships to support them on their way to a chosen career. Among those are the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, America Planning Association, National Society of Professional Engineers, Society of Petroleum Engineers, American Institute of Physics, and others.
The renowned educational site upholds its mission by giving students with a valid .edu address 50% off their premium membership. However, there is also a Skillshare Premium Scholarship. If you cannot afford even a discounted tier, answer questions about your financial situation and apply for free access.