Can I Get a Student Discount on Cable?
If you’re looking for a cable company that will take one look at your student ID and slash its prices . . . good luck. It can’t hurt to ask for a student discount, but we haven’t found any specific student discount promotions this year.
But what we have found is a variety of cable packages good for a student’s budget—so you can afford to chow down on pizza instead of instant ramen while you’re watching the game on ESPN.
Affordable Cable Deals for Students
|Provider||Package||Channel Count||Promotional Price||Contract Length|
|AT&T U-verse||U200||360+||$55.00/mo. for 12 months||1 year|
|Xfinity||Digital Starter||140+||$49.99/mo. for first 12 months||1 year|
|Cox||Contour TV||140+||$64.99/mo. for 12 months||No contract|
|Spectrum||TV Select||125+||$64.00/mo. for first 12 months||No contract|
|DIRECTV||DIRECTV ENTERTAINMENT||160+||$40.00/mo. for first 12 months||2 years|
Most cable companies don’t have nationwide coverage, so it’s important to find out which ones can provide service to your student housing. Enter your zip code below to find all the TV providers near you:
We highly recommend AT&T U-verse as a TV option for students. U200 has all the standard cable channels (CNN, ESPN, MTV, etc.), plus a few extras (Comedy Central, NFL Network, truTV, etc.). AT&T includes a DVR in your plan, so you can record your favorite shows without paying extra.
Unfortunately, AT&T U-verse plans come with a one-year contract. If your financial situation changes or you aren’t staying in your college town over the summer, you’ll have to pay a cancellation fee.
Sports fans will appreciate the Digital Starter package from Comcast Xfinity since it comes with the Pac-12 Network. It’s less expensive than U200, but it doesn’t come with an included DVR.
While this plan includes a one-year contract, Xfinity has no-contract plans available for $10.00 more per month. That’s a bit pricier, but the freedom to leave a provider whenever you want can give you extra peace of mind.
Contour TV from Cox is a good choice for students because it has no contract period, so you’re free to cancel your cable TV for any reason. It also has most of the popular cable networks, and you can purchase additional “TV Paks” like the Sports and Information Pak, Movie Pak, or Variety Pak to get more of your favorite channels.
Unfortunately, TV Paks will cost you, and Contour TV is already one of the more expensive plans in our lineup. But if you’re okay with Contour TV’s starting lineup, which has a lot of good channels on its own, it’s a good option because you won’t be stuck in a full-year contract.
Spectrum, which formed from a merger between Charter, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks, also offers no-contract plans. The channel lineup with the TV Select package is solid but doesn’t include anything too exciting.
And while TV Select has fewer channels than Contour TV, it’s just as expensive, so see if you have other options before signing up.
You might have seen that itty-bitty price tag and wondered why we didn’t list DIRECTV ENTERTAINMENT first. The catch is that all DIRECTV plans come with a two-year contract, which isn’t ideal for most students.
But if you’re confident you’ll be living in the same place for more than one year and you’re okay with the price rising to $90.00 per month after the first year, this package is great for TV lovers. It comes with the Genie DVR included, and you’ll get three months of HBO®, STARZ®, SHOWTIME®, and Cinemax® at no extra cost.
3 Tips for Students Buying Cable
1. Bundle TV with internet.
If you’re already getting internet, it’s smart to order TV and internet from the same company. You’ll usually get a discount for bundling and sometimes additional incentives as well. And with both services on the same bill, it’s a lot easier to keep track of.
2. Ask about student deals.
It never hurts to ask! Call your provider prepared to do a bit of haggling for the price and channels you want, and it could pay off. You may be surprised to discover some unadvertised discounts and promo rates.
3. Consider low-cost alternatives.
In our post “Free and Low-Cost Cable TV Options,” we’ll clue you in on over-the-air TV and streaming TV options you might not have considered. Also, saving money on a TV can free up money for a better cable package, so check out the best TVs for students in 2018.
Choose your new TV provider.
There are a lot of choices out there. We listed the favorites for college students, but you could find a great deal from a provider not on our list. Enter your zip code below to see all your options: