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student finances

Student Life

Best Student Discounts for 2022

February 25, 2022

We all know that college is expensive and this is the first time that many students are responsible for their finances. It can be difficult or even overwhelming to get your money in order, but there are some deals and discounts that make it easier on your wallet!

Some students aren’t aware of the many exclusive discounts that are available to students while enrolled in college. Some subscriptions are made available just by registering using a .edu email address. Not only will students be able to save a few dollars (or maybe more than a few) by registering as a student, but will they receive exclusive benefits most of the time. Being aware of these discounts can be beneficial for college students that are learning to be more financially independent. 

Here are some of the best student discounts available in 2022:

Amazon Prime

As a student, Amazon Prime offers a free six-month subscription. After that free six-month trial is over, it costs only $6.49 per month for as long as you are a student. With this subscription, you’ll receive a catalog of their TV shows and movies, free unlimited photo storage with Prime Photo, and the usual perks of two-day shipping. This discount extends beyond Amazon as well, like offering exclusive deals to GrubHub, the Calm App, discounts on flights from StudentUniverse, and help from Course Hero. As if that isn’t enough for the perks of Amazon Prime, there are add-ons to this plan, including access to premium video channels Like Showtime, Epix, Sundance Now, and more for just $0.99 a month each for up to 12 months. What a deal!

Spotify Premium

As for Spotify, students are able to buy access to both TV and music streaming options. For as low as $4.99 a month, students have access to ad-free listening to Spotify Premium, Hulu, and Showtime all in one. That’s half the price of regular memberships and without the extra perks of Hulu and Showtime. For the first month of access, all listening and watching is completely free! It should be noted that this plan has to be renewed annually and you can only use it for up to four years.

YouTube Premium 

Students have access to watch ad-free videos on the go with YouTube Premium. The option to download and watch offline viewing is only $6.99 a month. You’ll have complete access to Youtube music if your other streaming platforms are not cutting it for you. You have the option to try out Youtube Premium for a one-month free trial.

Apple Music and Apple TV+

When students sign up for Apple Music, they also get access to AppleTV+, all for only $4.99 a month! This subscription will not only allow students access to over fifty million songs but will also allow students to watch original movie pictures. This discounted rate is available for up to 4 years. 

Audible

Students have the option to purchase audiobooks, for either school or for entertainment through a discounted rate using Audible. New members are able to join for as low as $9.95 a month. Students are able to save over 30% and receive a $10 Amazon.com credit.

Notion

Are you having trouble organizing all your notes for all your different classes, projects, and assignments? Organize your personal tasks and notes with Notion’s free Personal Pro plan. Unlimited pages & blocks, file uploads, and version history. Just sign up with a school email address. The best part is there is no credit card required to sign up!

UNiDAYS

UNiDAYS is a discount website founded in 2011 that is available for free to students worldwide. Current students in higher education can sign up with UNiDAYS to get discounted deals on products and services.

Skillshare

College can be a really busy time and can be hard to find a way to decompress or learn a new skill. Skillshare is an online learning community of educational videos for a variety of different topics. Normally, Skillshare offers free one-month trials of their premium service. After that, it’s $15/month ($8.25/month if you pay annually).

Adobe Creative Cloud

Students can get the full suite of Adobe products such as Illustrator, Photoshop, and After Effects for just $19.99/month. That’s a 60% savings over the usual price of $52.99/month!

If you just want access to Photoshop, you can get the Photography Plan for just $9.99/month (whether or not you’re a student). This gives you access to Photoshop and Lightroom, plus 20GB of cloud storage.

Office 365

Although you might already get access to the Microsoft Office Suite for free through your college, if your school doesn’t offer it for some reason, you can still get free access to Office 365 Education if you’re a student. This includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Microsoft Teams. Just like most of the offers above, all you need is a valid student (.edu) email address to sign up!

Merchandise and Food Discounts

When you’re a student, often times local businesses in your town or city will offer a discount, anywhere from 10 to even 25% off. Many restaurants and store chains offer a deal for students such as Chipotle and Chick-Fil-A and even movies theaters. The twist to getting these discounts compared to most of the digital resources, is you need to do is show them your student ID.

College can be stressful for many different resources, but subscriptions and tools shouldn’t be on that list. We hope that this helps you save some money while you are in school and make some of your resources more affordable!

Adulting Student Life Transition

Addressing Finances as a Student

February 4, 2022

College is one of the best times of your life: you’re always meeting new people, are regularly exposed to new and revolutionary ideas, and will make memories that last a lifetime. 

However, college can also be challenging. As a student, you’re always juggling responsibilities and are constantly aware of the costs like school fees, books, food, and accommodation. 

These responsibilities can lead many to put their head in the sand during their college years and ignore their finances. But this approach is unlikely to alleviate any financial anxiety you might feel, and will only inflate your debts when you graduate. 

Instead, you should take a forward-thinking approach to budgets, expenses, and income — here are a few tips to help you along the way.  

Budget

You cannot address your finances properly without a clear budget. 

You can create a realistic budget by adding up all of your income and expenses. This can be tricky, as most students who are also working are on hourly contracts which might fluctuate around seasonal shifts and finals. You can either account for these fluctuations ahead of time, or should set a “minimum income” amount so you’re never caught out. 

Next, you should divide your expenses up into essential and non-essential expenses. Essential expenses should cover any non-negotiable fees like rent or food, and non-essential expenses should include cash for good times (we’ll get to that later!). 

Once you have a clear picture of how much you expect to earn and spend every month, you should start to think about how you can make your money work for you through investments and interest on savings — but only after you’ve established a healthy emergency fund. 

Emergency Fund

An emergency fund protects you from unexpected fees like medical bills or car maintenance fees. This might sound boring, but it’s essential if you wish to have financial security and peace of mind. 

Determining the size of your emergency fund depends on your current context. However, in general, you should budget to cover at least three months’ worth of expenses in case you lose your job or are hit with an unexpected bill. 

Transport

Cars are money pits. You can easily spend hundreds, if not thousands on simple repairs, and cars require consistent tax and insurance payments. As a student, you should seriously consider ditching a car until you have a reliable source of full-time income that can support your vehicle without putting an extra strain on your budget. 

It’s hard to know if life without a car is right for you, and you should consider factors like your proximity to campus and access to public transport before you list your vehicle on craigslist. However, there are serious health benefits to going without a car, as you’ll likely cycle or walk far more than you ever did before. 

Good Times

A budget isn’t a spreadsheet that exists to make you feel guilty. A good budget should allow for a little flexibility around travel, food, shopping, and socialization. As such, it’s a good idea to set an affordable amount aside to pursue good times and memorable experiences. 

As a student with fewer commitments, you should seriously consider spending the money you budget for good times on summer travel plans. Summer vacation will help you see the light at the end of the spring semester tunnel, and will give you a chance to make meaningful connections with the people you’ve met while studying. 

Conclusion

You can’t achieve financial independence overnight — but that shouldn’t put you off from making proactive financial choices that are based on a clear budget and some forward-thinking. That might mean you need to ditch the car for a few years, but it will also give you the flexibility to spend a little extra on summer vacations or road trips with your new friends. 

Student Life

Student Guide on How to Stop Overspending and Start Saving

November 11, 2021

Being a student is one of the most exciting phases of one’s life. Financially, this is the ideal time to experiment with your ideas and get a head start for adulthood. The challenge, though, is how to make ends meet with the limited resources you currently have. After all, just a night of overspending can lead to disastrous results down the line.

Fortunately, there are a lot of steps that you can practice to prevent overspending and learn more about personal financial management. In this article, we are going to share some of them with you, particularly those that we have already tried and tested for years:

1.  Make use of last year’s books.

According to Academic Matters, an average student spends more than $1,000 on books and other learning materials per year. While putting them to good use is the best way to make the most of your investment, there is another way to get (at least) some of your money back. Take good care of your textbooks because you can still resell them for a good price once the school year’s over. Check out your campus bookstore for buy-back programs, or sites such as Amazon or Chegg.

2.  Enjoy savings for this year’s books.

While we’re on the topic of textbook savings, you can use similar tactics for books you have yet to purchase. Look into buying used textbooks or renting them. Many times, you can still. write and highlight in books you rent, so it shouldn’t impact your study habits.

3.  Know your discounts.

Since we are already talking about Amazon, did you know that they have an Amazon Prime student program as well? This allows you to sign-up at half the price of their regular plan, take advantage of significant discounts, enjoy free food delivery, and more.

Meanwhile, Amazon is not the only company that offers discounts to students. Don’t forget other types of bonuses as well. For instance, groceries typically hold late-night discounts for perishable items that didn’t sell during the day. Take the time to find what’s available near you and you might be surprised how a little effort can stretch your dollars further.

4.  Plan your expenses and shop smart.

There are different types of budgeting systems but for students, we highly recommend starting with something simple like the envelope system. It won’t require any expense recording but it will make sure that you live within your means.

Don’t automatically assume that you need to buy everything as well. You will need a lot of things when you’re moving into you’re venturing out into the world for the first time, but don’t think that you would need to buy everything brand new.

There’s no shame in asking around whether your family and friends have some things that you might need just lying around unused, such as old pieces of furniture or kitchen appliances. Other items, like the power tools you’ll need to assemble your own furniture, can also be rented as needed.

We also recommend alternative methods such as point-of-need financing. You can use it to buy bigger educational-related expenses, like a new laptop or a printer. You might even need a small fridge or a microwave for your dorm room. This will allow you to get what you need and pay for them through smaller and more manageable monthly payments.

5.  Explore new interests.

Binge drinking, excessive partying, shopping, and even vaping are all hobbies that are not just irresponsible, they’re quite costly too. Instead, consider exploring fun and inexpensive hobbies!

For example, there are affordable musical instruments that you can start learning how to play. Getting a chess set is pretty cheap and you can spend your whole life contemplating on its 69,352,859,712,417 possibilities and still not master it.

Are you a fan of working out? There are campus gyms that offer free memberships for their students, teachers, even the alumni. The fun that comes with college parties can still be enjoyed, just not overdone!

6.  Take advantage of more affordable forms of entertainment.

A lot of campuses offer free (or really affordable) forms of entertainment such as movie nights, museum passes, and cultural shows. We also recommend skipping a costly cable package. Try a streaming service instead, like Netflix or Hulu. Amazon also offers Amazon Music and Prime Video as part of the student program we have featured earlier. Talk to your roommates and see if they’d split the cost on one or two streaming services for you to share.

In fact, when it comes to music, there really is no need to buy tracks these days. You can simply use free streaming services like Spotify or Pandora.

7.  Share food and space with your friends.

You can further pull down your monthly expenses by splitting the cost of your rent and utilities with a roommate. You can even plan your meals together and share grocery expenses. Splitting the responsibility of cooking and cleaning up is unbeatable!

8.  Review your life skills.

Speaking of cooking, it will save you a lot from eating and spending money on take out. We know how convenient it is, but it is financially smarter to just cook your own dinner rather than reaching for Uber Eats every other day. Save those splurge nights for really special occasions.

Riding a bike is another way to save money in college. Car payments, insurance, parking passes, and gas can really add up, especially if you are on a student budget. If you really need a car, you could rent one for the day or utilize a ride share service. But a bike should be enough if you live on campus or close by.

There are certainly other methods to save money as a student, but the ones we have mentioned above are good points that you can already start practicing. Good luck!

Adulting Student Life

Creative Ways to Map Out Financial Goals as a Student

May 7, 2021
Hand holding up money

As a student, you probably have plenty of financial goals in mind for your future. Having goals is a good thing, and it can keep you on the right responsible track to saving money and having enough to cover your expenses.

But, if your goals feel more like dreams or you haven’t thoroughly thought them out, you could have a harder time achieving them. 

Thankfully,  with a little creativity, you can map out your money goals and take charge of your finances from a young age.

With that in mind, let’s look at a couple of creative ways to map out those goals and how you can use them on your financial journey.

Have Fun With Budgeting

You might think of the word “budget” and groan. But, budgeting doesn’t have to be a tedious or boring practice. That’s especially true when you break down your budget into different categories to achieve your short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals.

You can separate your budget into these different areas by putting a bit away into each of them. Visualize it as having three jars set out on your counter. How much of your budget do you want to use right now? What about in a year or so? What about in 20 years? As a student, it can be hard to think about your life after retirement, but imagine how much you could have saved up if you do think about it now.

Some other examples of long-term financial goals include:

  • Paying off debt
  • Saving for a car
  • Striving for homeownership
  • Paying for college

Those goals might sound closer to home for a student. So, as tempting as it might be to use all your budget in the here and now, think about your future and all you can do with what you save. If you’re having trouble figuring out just how much you should be putting away, don’t be afraid to try a budget calculator. You’ll be able to play around with numbers to determine what will work for you.

Try Mind Mapping

If you’ve never heard of mind mapping, it focuses on having a central goal, then using different “branches” toward achieving it.

Sound confusing? It doesn’t have to be.

When you have a main goal, you can add “branches” to your map in different directions. Each branch will be another tactic you can use toward achieving that goal. For example, if your goal is to save up enough money for a car, one area of your map might include things like working extra jobs, selling some of your unwanted items, or taking on “gig work.” Another section might include giving up things like going out to eat or entertainment until you have enough.

Mind mapping is even easier when you use software to build your map. Visualization is important when it comes to achieving your goals. It gives you something concrete to look at and focus on while you put in the work.

It’s never too early and you’re never too young to create financial goals for yourself. Doing so now can set you up for a much more comfortable future. Keep these creative ideas in mind as you start to work through those goals as effectively as possible.

BIO: Dan Matthews is a writer with a degree in English from Boise State University. He has extensive experience writing online at the intersection of business, finance, marketing, and culture.

Health

Healthcare Financing Resources for Low-Income College Students

September 21, 2020

Let’s face it: learning is its own reward, yes. But you’re in college primarily to build a better life for yourself and your family. You might be getting your education to escape the life of struggle that you have watched your parents endure.

But building a better life ain’t cheap. And, right now, what money you have goes mainly to school and to the essentials of living. Ponying up for private health insurance might feel like a luxury you can’t afford right now. 

Yet without that coverage, you’re also probably tempted to let your regular healthcare fall by the wayside. After all, you’re young and your physical and mental health care just might not feel like a priority right now. That is, not until you really need it. 

This article shows you how to finance your healthcare when you’re a college student living on a budget.

Know Your Options

When you’re looking to finance your healthcare, the first thing you should do is explore your eligibility for coverage under your family’s plan or through your university health system. In many cases, full-time college students can qualify for coverage under a parent’s group health insurance plan up to the age of 26.

If that doesn’t work out, you might be eligible for lower-cost student health insurance coverage through your college, university, or trade school. The chances are especially good if you enroll in a work-study program through your school.

Don’t Forget the Marketplace or Medicaid

If it turns out you are not eligible for coverage under your parents’ or school’s plan, don’t despair. There are still options. For example, depending on your income, you might qualify for Medicaid, which will allow you to enjoy good benefits at a relatively low monthly premium. 

The maximum income cutoffs for Medicaid, however, can be pretty stringent. If you’re above the threshold but still don’t earn enough to bear the often ridiculous costs of private insurance, you might be able to get coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). 

With the ACA, the percentage of uninsured Americans dropped from nearly 16% to just over 9%. Through the Marketplace, you can choose the level of coverage you want or need — and the premiums you can afford.

Don’t Forget the “Extras”

Getting good healthcare is about more than funding your medical care. It’s also about taking care of the whole person, mind, body, and spirit.  And that should include everything from mental healthcare to dental care. 

After all, life is stressful, and going to college on a shoestring budget is especially so. But getting care doesn’t have to be expensive. Case in point: you have a lot of options today for accessing low-cost therapy. This includes online therapy apps to help you access immediate, on-demand support from the safety of your own home if you are battling anxiety or depression.

And while you’re taking care of your body and your mind, you mustn’t forget your smile! Living on a budget doesn’t mean you have to put off your dental care. Even if you’re in need of a non-essential or cosmetic procedure, such as a crown or veneer, there are funding options that don’t require you to break the bank.

If you set up a budget and cut out some of the extras you’re spending on unnecessary fees or on little luxuries, like your morning coffee run, you can probably cover the cost of your new smile or your other healthcare services pretty easily.

The Takeaway

Going to college on a shoestring budget is tough. But it doesn’t mean you have to do without the physical, mental, and dental healthcare you deserve. From finding coverage through your school to tapping the resources of the ACA to taking advantage of online therapy apps and dental financing, there are options available to ensure you receive the care you need.

Adulting

4 Money Management Tips That Will Make Your Paychecks Stretch Further

September 3, 2020

Getting a paycheck is always exciting, it’s money you have worked towards all week. However, if you’re not careful with managing that hard-earned money, you can accumulate interest and debt faster than you can pay it off, which can hinder long term financial goals. But fear not, there are different ways of making your paycheck work as hard as you.

Build a Budget

The first way to stretch out your paycheck is to know where your money is going and taking control of how much you spend. Living paycheck to paycheck is not a good plan and can lead to unnecessary stress. Tracking your expenses each month and setting a limit for how much you spend each week are great ways to start understanding what to budget for. 

Writing a list of monthly and weekly expenses helps you know where your money is going and assists with identifying areas where you can be saving instead of spending. Some people map out their expenses and categorize them in order to help with what is a necessary bill while locating unaffordable items. Although it can be difficult to stick to your budget, having one can help you reach a financial goal or pay off debt faster.

Take Care of Business

As an adult, you need to be responsible with your money. That being said, you should be using money from each paycheck to build up your financial stability. Some of the things that you should be budgeting for are:

  • Emergency Fund: Having an emergency fund is useful for unexpected expenses when they happen out of the blue. You can’t predict when your car is going to break down or if you lose your job suddenly. This safety net will help you avoid a free fall into more debt.
  • Savings: Aside from an emergency fund, you should also set aside money for a savings account. View saving money as a stepping stone towards a larger goal such as buying a home. Once it comes time to start searching for a home, check out online listings to help determine what a typical sales price is. This will help you learn more about what you should be saving.
  • Paying off Debt: Finally, you should be paying off student debt with a portion of your paycheck. All loans accumulate interest in addition to your current principal balance. Paying off loans sooner means spending less money over time on unnecessary debt. You can repay debt faster by picking up a side job, funneling extra money towards repayment, and refinancing loans.

Think About Unnecessary Expenses

One black hole for paycheck money is spending money on inessential items. A spending limit is part of a good budget, and that’s why it deserves to be called out. Impulse purchases like coffee and new clothes add up quickly, and it’s something you don’t want to suck up your money. 

However, you can treat yourself on occasion— no one is perfect! Paying in cash or prepaid cards are a great way to set limits for “want” items or rewards. Couponing and buying off-brand products are other methods to still get things that you want while staying in the green.

Manage Credit Cards Wisely

Credit cards are another area where interest can accumulate quickly and pull more money from your paycheck towards another institution. If you do need a credit card, make sure to shop around. Look at the pros and cons of each company and check out their cash back and reward programs.

If you do use a credit card, set a limit for yourself. Make sure you budget for purchases on your card and have a plan to pay your card in full each month. Remember late fees and interest are the enemies.

Paychecks are great and you should make them work as hard as you do. By following the tips above, you can work towards personal finance goals and great management practices! 

Transition

Graduated College – Now What?

July 15, 2020

2020 has taken a few unexpected turns that are going to hit the history books. As a recent college grad in the midst of a global pandemic and economic rollercoaster, here are some things you need to take care of now that you are a college graduate.

  1. Health insurance – If you are under the age of 26, try to stay on your parents plan. If you are unable to do so, be sure to find a way to get coverage. Life happens and it can happen fast. You don’t don’t want to get stuck with an out of pocket expense of $30,000 for staying in the hospital for a few nights. 
  2. Have a financial plan – Know what your needs are – living expenses add up quickly. If you have family or friends that are willing to have you for an extended period of time, take it – especially if you have student loans coming up. Saving any penny you can will help you be financially stable.
  3. Finding a job – with unemployment up and COVID-19 making a comeback in some states, it can be difficult to find a position in your specific field. You will need to learn how to hone your skills and be open to learning new industries. Do not box yourself in, and you may stumble upon your dream job!
  4. Create a Budget, AND STICK TO IT – It may sound lame, but having a budget will help you stay focused on your financial goals as well as not creating even more debt you may already be in after graduation.

With the state of the economy out of your control, you can make yourself adaptable. By researching some guidelines and making yourself marketable to multiple industries and positions you will learn to stretch and grow. You will get through this and be stronger for it!

Student Life

Why You Need College Renters Insurance

July 13, 2020

As you start to prepare for the new semester, there is always something new around the corner that you forgot to think about when heading off to college. Did you pack enough clothes? Do you have your laptop and smartphone? Shower caddy? Dorm bedding?

These might make the top of your move-in list, but don’t forget to add renters insurance! GradGuard makes getting renters insurance easy and eliminates the hassle of understanding your policy or wondering if something is covered.

Our policy perks include:

  • Worldwide personal property coverage
  • Protection against the theft of electronics
  • Replacement cost value
  • Low deductibles
  • No credit score or cosigner required when purchasing

Not only do we protect your stuff, but we protect the residence you are living at with our liability coverage. Ever set off a sprinkler system in your residence hall? We sure hope not! But if in the event it happens, we are there to protect you.

Watch the video below to see why renters insurance is important for college students:

You can learn more about the protection we offer by visiting our website. Remember, we sell policies for both on-campus and off-campus housing; so even if you aren’t living in the dorms this year, be sure you take us with you.

Adulting Other

5 Major Spending Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

June 5, 2020

As a college student, socialization can come with the unfortunate downside of being fairly expensive. Going to bars and clubs, shopping for an outfit for a night out, or even just ordering food with friends can all be costs that add up quickly.

In order to save more money on a tight budget, read on for common spending mistakes and what you can do to avoid them.

Not Planning

Planning ahead is one of the best ways to avoid overspending. By having a set idea of what you need ahead of time, you are placing a limit on what you can and cannot buy. This can be beneficial, as it helps you set your mind on what exactly you need to avoid distractions. As a smart shopper, take the time to create a shopping list and a strict budget that’s associated with it.

Taking on Fees

Many spending sprees can be bogged down by hidden transactional fees. Credit cards often have excessive interest rates associated with them if not paid off in time. Similarly, paying directly from your bank account puts you at risk for paying overdraft fees if you aren’t keeping a close eye on your spending.

One way to avoid this is to pay in cash, which also helps prevent overspending. If you’re someone more inclined to pay with a credit card, make sure you are aware of all the fees associated with the card you’re using. Similarly, if you’re in favor of using a debit card, find an account that has overdraft alternatives in order to avoid even more additional costs. Ultimately, this can keep you from taking on unnecessary fees if you do happen to spend more than what’s in your bank account.

Making Extra Purchases

Even with a budget and shopping list in place, there’s still a chance you might overspend on things that you don’t necessarily need. When shopping, it’s important to avoid impulse purchases and only focus on the list of items you’re planning to buy. Always stick to the plan you came in with, and if possible, avoid spending too much time looking at the smaller items available in the checkout aisle of many stores, which are designed to grab your attention, but probably aren’t the best for your budget. 

Not Finding Alternatives

The shopping world is forever changing, due to sites like Amazon, along with other websites that offer coupon and discount codes for a variety of internet stores. There is an abundance of money-saving alternatives available for the savvy shopper. Therefore, it’s important to take your time when shopping, both online and offline. After all, the first item you find may be convenient, but also might not be the most cost-effective to buy. Spending extra time looking for alternatives could be what saves you more money than expected.

Indecisiveness

On the flip side of this, taking too much time to shop can hinder your ability to save money. This is because most discounts are offered for a limited time only. While there is value in taking time to shop around and find deals, it shouldn’t be done in excess. Instead, pick a few items, compare their prices and the coupons available, and go with the most cost-effective option.

Before your next shopping trip or spending spree, make sure to plan ahead, and be ready to look for deals that will help you save money and avoid some common spending mistakes!

Other Transition

The Top College Towns of 2020

April 22, 2020

Choosing a college is no small feat. There are a ton of factors that come into play, from academic programs to athletics. One factor that definitely shouldn’t be overlooked is location. The town or city a school is located in can play a big part in both your college experience not to mention your life and work after graduation.

When making our choices, we considered several factors, including student life and culture, available recreational activities, nearby attractions, and availability of high-speed internet and other college necessities. Here are our picks:

1. Gainesville, FL

Gainesville houses the University of Florida, known for its research programs, athletics, and parties. Gainesville was, at one time, one of the fastest-growing cities in the US, thanks in part to its excellent climate, beautiful landscape, and large number of entertainment options. 

When it comes to living in Gainesville, there’s plenty to do, including several state parks and museums to check out, and the Gainesville Raceway is a popular spot. The town also has a growing startup culture, so if building businesses is your thing, you’ll be in good company once you graduate.

2. Berkeley, CA

Located across the Bay from San Francisco, Berkeley has a long reputation as a great place to live. The weather is beautiful, the atmosphere is electric, and creativity and activism are everywhere. The University of California is regularly ranked as one of the best in the country, and the area has a rich history dating back to the late ‘60s and the hippy movement. What more could you want in a college town?

Berkeley also has another major advantage: it’s situated only an hour or so away from Silicon Valley. This makes it an ideal candidate for folks in the tech space, as well as potential founders looking to fund startups.

3. Boulder, CO

Boulder has a reputation as one of the best places to live in the US, with gorgeous surroundings, excellent art and food cultures, and the popular University of Colorado providing a backdrop. Like Berkeley, Boulder has a bit of a hippy past, and between that and the beautiful natural landscape make it an ideal spot for adventurous students and adults alike.

There’s a ton to do in Boulder, especially if you like outdoor activities. The entire area is surrounded by nature preserves, recreational land, and climbable mountains. The city also regularly makes lists of the best places to live in the US, including “Happiest City,” “Brainiest City,” and “Best City to Raise an Outdoor Kid.”

4. Athens, GA

Home of the University of Georgia, Athens rounds out the list of best college towns. Unlike some of the other towns on the list, rent in Athens actually falls below the national average, making it an affordable town both during school and after graduation. Music is a big part of the culture, with several national acts, including R.E.M. and Widespread Panic, coming out of Athens. The University of Georgia is home to the Georgia Bulldogs, and their games are a big part of life in Athens.

One downside to living in Athens is that you may have a harder time finding reliably fast internet here, especially if you’re living in the more outlying areas. If that’s the case for you, there are rural internet options available that might help.

These four college towns have something for almost everyone, whether you’re a football fan itching to get on down to Georgia or a budding software engineer looking to make it big in Silicon Valley. Just don’t forget to squeeze in some studying and secure your college renters insurance upon move in!