Making the Most of Your Student ID

Written by Hazel Pankratz

Monday, August 20th, 2018

One key thing I've learned since starting university nearly two years ago is this: student discounts are everywhere, if you know where to look. Here are a few major rebates I've found useful while away at school.

Transit Passes

Whether you're using municipal, provincial or national transit systems, there are many options for student discounts, and these lower fares can mean big savings.

For schools such as Trent, Dalhousie and the University of British Columbia, the cost of a local transit pass is included in your student fees. However, even if your school doesn't include transit passes in your fees, there are still ways to save on travel. For example, students in Toronto are eligible for a discounted monthly TTC Metropass or a Post-Secondary Student ID that enables you to pay the lower student fare. Schools such as Ryerson and the University of Toronto sell these cheaper Metropasses right on campus.

For travelling around the GTA and some of south-central Ontario, GO Transit offers a student discount that can be applied to your Presto Card—all you have to do is fill out an application, which can be accessed online.

If you're travelling even further from home to go to school, VIA Rail offers a number of discounts and savings packages on regional and even cross-country transit. However, many of these packages are only valid within specific travel corridors, so make sure to double-check your route before committing to anything.

Books, Clothes and Other Essentials

As for shopping, one of the better-known discounts out there is Amazon Student Prime, which offers most Canadian students free access to Amazon Prime for six months and, after that, at a reduced rate. I've often used Prime to order school books and other supplies, and now that my six months are up, I've decided to keep my subscription. However, if you don't plan on keeping yours, make sure you know when to cancel so you don't rack up any additional charges.

Student Price Cards (SPC) are also pretty well known. They're often available at stores where these discounts are offered, through your school's student association, and online through the SPC website. This can be a fantastic way to save money, but it might not be right for everyone. If you frequent any participating stores or restaurants, an SPC card is a great way to cut some costs—but if you don't, a card probably won't save you much. Also, keep in mind that many SPC retail discounts are only available in-store and not online, or vice-versa. Be sure to check out their list of discounts before opting in.

Always Carry Your ID

By far the best thing I've learned is this: always carry your student ID. I carry mine on the same lanyard as my keys so it's always with me. I've found that many establishments offer student discounts, but don't advertise them beyond a sign at the cash register. Though this generally only saves a little at a time, in the long run, it really does add up.

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