Consumer Reports: Saving with student discounts

Voter ID requirement has largest impact for students

The end of summer marks one of the most feverish periods of shopping. According to the National Retail Federation, Americans will spend $68 billion this year on back-to-school necessities. Consumer Reports finds that college students can get significant savings by taking advantage of discounts that are available.

At Banana Republic, J.Crew, and Madewell stores, it’s just a matter of flashing a student ID card to get a 15 percent discount. At Apple, a student ID or acceptance letter will get you $200 off your purchase, either in the store or online.

For a lot of other merchants, there can be a hitch. With many of the online discounts, you have to join a student discount program. Fortunately, at least one is free—UNiDAYS. The UNiDAYS service gives you discounts on online purchases at Claire’s, Levi’s, Urban Outfitters, and many other sites.

Students can also get 10 percent off on Amtrak tickets purchased online or 20 percent on Greyhound tickets purchased either online or in person. But you’ll need to pay to join the Student Advantage Discount program that offers those discounts.

The Student Advantage Discount costs $22.50 for the first year. But you might be able to make that back with all of the savings you can get with it. Check out the website You’ll see a long list of discounts at popular movie theaters, hotels, and shoe stores, among others.

And for the very lucky who will take a new car to college, the General Motors College Discount Program offers discounts for new-car purchases and leases. The amount depends on the model you buy, but most are eligible. GMC will also give the new-car discount to those who have graduated within the last two years.

Teachers and graduate students may also qualify for some of the discounts, including those at Banana Republic, J.Crew, Madewell, and the Apple store.