While coronavirus may be on the decline in the U.S. the threat of new cases still lingers, particularly among college students. With the added challenge of staying healthy—and fewer safe ways to socialize—you may not have the same energy to look for money-saving opportunities this fall. Luckily, there’s a new thread on Reddit with some of the best free and low-cost resources for college students. These are some of the highlights.
Try to use open-source textbooks
The average college student spent a whopping $1,240 on books and supplies last year, according to the College Board. Reddit user RAWkWAHL recommends trying open-source textbooks—aka open education resources—which are available for free online. Popular options may include OpenStax, Open Textbook Library, MERLOT, and Bookboon. There’s a longer list of other places to access free open-source textbooks—here.
See what your student fees cover
Reddit user wazzle13 suggests taking the time to learn about your student fees. Depending on your school, you may have access to health services (including free condoms!), fitness centers, transportation, and more. Once you know what you’re paying for, you may be more apt to take advantage of these services.
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This semester, you may also notice a coronavirus fee—which, unfortunately, may be unavoidable because of more testing on campus. But you can call your health insurance company to see if they will reimburse you for the expense.
Ask if you qualify for anything at the awards office
Another no-brainer: ask about scholarships and grants through your school’s awards office. Reddit user billbapapa says many awards go unclaimed every year because students don’t apply for them. Although you may not qualify for some—you won’t know until you ask. You can either visit the awards office in-person or search for awards online.
Take advantage of the Career Center
You should also spend time at your school’s Career Center before your final semester. Reddit user peacharnoldpalmer says they can assist with your resume, cover letter, interviews, and networking—which may help you land better internships. Some schools may have the funds to help you put together a professional wardrobe, and offer free fancy paper and free thank you cards, Reddit user fly-no-fox says.
Look for events with free food
There are endless on-campus events for free food if you pay attention to your school’s calendars, Reddit user mywifemademegetthis suggests. Student activities groups often sponsor events with pizza or other free snacks. Although coronavirus has put a damper on larger gatherings, Reddit user tea-times says their school is currently offering free food vouchers. These opportunities may be particularly useful if you’re living off-campus without a meal plan.