Nowadays hitting back to school sales is a must for university students, whether they’re freshies or gunning for PhDs. College students already drop close to $1,200 on books and supplies every year according to the College Board, and many are footing that bill without help from mom and dad. Luckily the need for brand new backpacks and weighty textbooks is going down as smart pens replace No. 2 pencils. But even so, the latest tech isn’t cheap and can even become a real budget buster when a single student has classes with multiple technology requirements.
Why are professors blind to student budgets? According to one Pew Research Center survey, most teachers believe bringing tech into teaching makes students better and more independent learners. But that doesn’t mean they have to think about who is bankrolling all those required gadgets. When you’re the one shelling out the cash for back to school tech, it pays to shop smart. Here are some of the best technology deals for students new to and returning to college this year.
In the market for a laptop? Apple has deals just for college students (and their teachers), including up to $200 off the price of computers like the iMac, MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. Buy one soon, and they’ll throw in a free pair of Beats Solo2 headphones so you can study in peace.
Those who prefer PCs can check out Lenovo, which is known for offering sweet discounts for students, or Dell, which gives students the opportunity to grab tech at great markdowns through its DellStudent Computing Initiative. And Microsoft’s Education Store gives students access to its software products at deeply discounted prices.
Printing at the student computing center is always a drag. Hewlett-Packard makes life easier by giving up to a 35% discount to students who sign onto their site with a .edu email address.
T-Mobile wants your business if you’re shopping for phones – specifically Samsung phones. Right now, students who grab a qualifying device like the Samsung Galaxy S6 will get free access to Netflix for a whole year of post-study chill time.
Of course, not all tech steals make you prove you’re the studious type. The $35 NomadPlus portable battery simultaneously charges itself and your devices so you never have to worry about running out of juice. A WD portable hard drive can save your end of term paper (when you’re in college, that is almost as important as life itself) for just a little over $80. For less than $60 you can grab a pair of Creative HN-900 noise cancelling headphones so distractions don’t turn into Ds. And the Tylt Energi Backpack + Battery is a bag for your books and a battery for your gadgets in one stylish package that doesn’t cost that much more than a limited edition Jansport.
Back to school shopping season may be over but if you have left some of your classes’ technology requirements hanging, it’s still a great time to buy. Don’t think you have to pay full price just because you don’t see a STUDENT SALE sign. Sometimes getting the best price on everything from tablets and other tech to train passes and a new pair of trainers is just a matter of asking whether a student discount exists. The worst that can happen is that a sales person says no. And in the best case scenario, you just scored a secret discount that put unexpected funds into your beer budget.