Academic Discounts On Software and Tech Gear
A reader asks: 'I am headed back to school in September, so I need a new laptop and some software for my first year at college. Of course money is tight, so I'm looking for any student discounts I can find. What the best places to look for discounted prices on software and computer gear for students?'
Student Discounts for Computers and Software
Today's students find that computer hardware and software are just as essential to their studies as textbooks. Unfortunately, the cost of buying a laptop, printer, other hardware, plus basic and specialized software adds up very quickly. But you can get help from academic discounts on hardware and software.
Vendors offer academic discounts for several reasons. A school may negotiate discounts for its students as part of a larger deal for the campus infrastructure. Vendors may hope to capture customers while they are young and impressionable. You may hear vendors offer student discounts out of the goodness of their hearts, but don't believe it. Whatever the reason, discounts on hardware and software are widely available for students as well as qualifying staff at educational venues.
Academic discounts on hardware such as desktops, laptops and tablets won't be very large; there just isn't as much profit margin in hardware. But savings on software can add up to substantial amounts of money. Microsoft Office Professional, for example, retails for $399. But with Office 365 University, the cloud-based academic version, you can get a 4-year subscription to all the Office apps for just $79. (If you want something you can install on your hard drive, Office Home & Student 2013 goes for $139.)
In some cases, you get software free of charge for use in an academic setting. The Microsoft DreamSpark program is one example. Your school's IT department is a good place to check for student discounts. Many schools negotiate volume licensing agreements for products that will be used by the entire student body, as well as faculty and staff.
Other Places to Look For Discounts
The school's bookstore is another good source of discounts on hardware and software. But be careful. Bookstores may offer academic pricing on certain products required for which the school has negotiated good deals, but prices for non-essential hardware and software can be high. The bookstore is not the best place to buy video games, or bluetooth headsets or other tech accessories.
Then there are online stores like Academic Superstore, where you can purchase over 20,000 products that are discounted up to 65 per cent. The biggest savings are on software, but you can also save money on notebooks, netbooks, peripheral devices, and even backpacks in which to carry it all. A few current examples are Rosetta Stone Spanish for $332 (regular price $499) and the 32GB Surface RT tablet for $299 ($200 discount). Another online store specializing in academic and student discounts is JourneyEd.
Vendors may offer academic discounts directly to students, faculty, and employees of schools. Apple, Lenovo, Microsoft, and Adobe are just a few examples. Sometimes vendors' sites offer promotions that are not available elsewhere, such as a $100 credit to spend in the Apple App Store when you buy a Mac.
Amazon Student is a free program created especially for college students.
Members get six months of FREE Two-Day Shipping with Amazon Prime, and e-mail alerts for other discounts and promotions.
Of course, you'll need to prove that you are eligible for an academic discount. That may be as simple as providing an email address at a qualifying school's domain. But you may need a student or staff ID number, and you may have to pick up your purchase at the school's bookstore or other on-campus location. In some cases, you will have to login to a portal website operated by your school, and click through to the offer from there.
And what's even better than a discount? Free, of course! So be sure to check out my article GOING FREE: Replacing Your Paid Software to find out how to get free software for word processing, internet security, backup and other common tasks. You'll also want to see my tips on How to Get Free College Textbooks.
Academic discounts won't fulfill your wish list for the latest gear and gadgets. But they can take some of the financial pain out of back-to-school time. Do you know about other sources of student discounts for computer stuff? Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 15 Aug 2013
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Academic Discounts On Software and Tech Gear (Posted: 15 Aug 2013)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved