There aren’t many benefits to being a starving college student. Unless you consider eating ramen noodles two meals out of every three and forking over hundreds of dollars for textbooks as attractive perks. That college ID, however, is good for something beyond discounted films at the student union. In a few instances, it could earn you some savings on your cable subscription. We’ll take a look at the methods that might glean you a discount if you’re willing to give that ID and your phone a workout, then cover the handful of cable companies that actually offer dedicated student rates. While you may only save a few dollars, that cash can go a long way toward funding your next epic spring break trip to Cabo.
3 Ways to Score Some Student Savings
There are several ways you can save some bucks on your cable and each of them will depend on your location and the cable service provider you’re working with.
1. University Partnerships
Some local cable companies have entered into partnerships as providers of choice for particular university or college campuses. If that’s the case, your student ID might earn you a discounted rate for cable, internet, and phone services. For instance, RCN provides discounted packages for George Washington University students in the DC metro area. Time Warner Cable has similar contractual agreements for various campuses across the country. Check with your student organization to understand the benefits you might be missing that’ll score you cable TV for a song.
2. “Skinny” Bundles
To accommodate the increasing move towards streaming services, many cable companies offer what they refer to as “skinny” or “essentials” bundles. These pared down services are great budget choices for college students looking to get basic cable TV service. In fact, many providers like CenturyLink offer what they refer to as “student packages”, but in reality are just slimmed down bundle packages available to any customer.
3. Just Asking (You’d be Surprised)
Tales of unadvertised discounts and promo rates abound, so call your cable provider and plan to spend some time on the phone haggling. Take a hard look at your budget and prioritize what you want before you pick up the phone, so you can be clear about the deal that you need. Want some pointers on how to wrangle a discount out of your cable provider? Use this expert advice from companies like Billfixers, who make a living on the phone, securing savings for their customers.
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Which Companies Offer Discounted Rates Just for Students?
A handful of companies have programs aimed at ensuring low-income customers have access to affordable TV, internet, and phone service. Let’s take a look at three you could take advantage of as a student to keep your wallet a little thicker this year.
AT&T – Low Cost Bundle
AT&T’s U-Verse student rate provides a low cost essentials bundle coupled with discounts aimed at college priorities like streaming and gaming. You’ll also earn an extra $300 in cash back that’ll ensure you can afford pizza for all those midnight finals cram sessions. AT&T promises you’ll see savings of up to $59 per year. That’s the equivalent of 98 packets of ramen, people.
Comcast – Low Income Discount
One of the largest broadband discount programs in the United States, Comcast’s Internet Essentials takes aim at expanding access to affordable high-speed internet. Initially, the program focused on low-income families but last year, Comcast piloted expanding the program to include low-income college students in Colorado and Illinois. While this won’t get you a deal on cable TV per se, the discounted rate on both internet service and computers will enable students to invest the extra cash towards finally scoring the TV package of their adult dreams. To qualify, college students need to demonstrate that they eligible for federal tuition assistance in the form of a Pell Grant.
You can apply for the program here: Comcast Internet Essentials Application.
DirecTV – NFL Sunday Ticket Discounts
Are you ready for some football? If you’re a student, game coverage may seem out of reach but DirecTV has saved you a front seat to NFL Sunday coverage. Students who qualify will need to apply here to receive a half price subscription to NFL’s Sunday Ticket, subsidized by AT&T and the NFL. Savings on sports coverage mean the game is on for students around the country.
Explore more discounts and deals from your local cable provider. Use our provider tool to learn more about bundles that bring home the savings to your dorm room.