- This article originally appeared on Tom's Guide and has been inducted into our Future University Back to School guide
Amazon Student gives college students access to free 2-day shipping and a variety of other Amazon-specific services at half the price of the company's traditional Prime membership. It also gives students access to exclusive deals on Amazon Prime Day and access to Amazon's just launched Off-to-College store.
It's handy if you frequently buy from Amazon and use, or are interested in using, its other online services.
- Not a Prime Student member? You can sign up for a 6-month trial and cancel any time).
Even though Amazon raised the annual cost to $59 last year (monthly membership also jumped to $6.49), the service is still indispensable. Plus, students get a free six-month trial, which is substantially longer than the 30-day trial standard Prime members receive.
Here's a break down of Amazon Student's main features.
Q.: What is Amazon Prime?
A.: Amazon Prime is an annual subscription program that provides several benefits for members. Subscribers are eligible for free two-day (and, in some cases, one-day) shipping on most items and other delivery perks. Members also get unlimited streaming video and music, as well as special offers on other digital media. (For all of the details on Prime, see our complete Amazon Prime FAQ.) Prime benefits include the following:
- Prime Now: Free 2-hour delivery (and discounted 1-hour delivery) for tens of thousands of products from local stores (including Whole Foods) in select cities, using a special Android or iOS app.
- Prime Photos: Unlimited photo storage in Amazon Cloud Drive.
- Prime Pantry: Low-priced grocery, household and pet care items delivered for a flat fee of $5.99 for each Prime Pantry virtual box (up to 45 pounds of goods).
- Video game discounts: Get a $10 credit on select pre-orders.
- Prime Early Access: 30-minute early access to Lightning Deals on Amazon.com and new sales on MyHabit.com.
- Kindle First: Free access (before the official release date) to a new book from Kindle First picks each month.
- Kindle Owners' Lending Library: Hundreds of thousands of Amazon's Kindle e-books are available for a free one-month checkout. (Note: This perk is not available to Amazon Student members during the six-month free trial.)
- Prime Instant Video: Unlimited streaming of tens of thousands of movies and TV episodes, including Amazon's original shows and older HBO content. (Note: This is not available to Amazon Student members during the six-month free trial.)
- Prime Music: Unlimited, ad-free access to more than 1.5 million songs. Users can stream on demand or allow Amazon to select songs based on their taste (as with Pandora). (Note: This is not available to Amazon Student members during the six-month free trial.)
Q.: What is Amazon Student?
A.: Amazon Student offers the same benefits as regular Amazon Prime ($99 per year), at a discount. It is available to students enrolled in at least one class in a college or university in the United States (including Puerto Rico as well as online universities).
A.: Amazon Student costs $59 per year or $6.49 per month, after a free (limited) six-month trial period. Verified students (you have to have an .edu email address) are eligible for four years or until graduation — whichever comes first. After that, the membership will auto-renew itself at $119 per year. Students must pay tax on the membership if they live in Arizona, California, Florida, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia or Wisconsin.
A.: Amazon Student has a referral program that pays $5 to both the student being referred and the student who refers them. Amazon has requirements for how you deliver the invite to a fellow student, by sharing a link on social media or by using Amazon's email form to send the invite.
A.: Amazon Households allows two adults to share membership benefits. So it could be an option for student roommates, but it saves only one extra dollar over Amazon Student. Alternatively, you can opt for the $6.49/month plan and cancel it the months you don't plan to use it.
A.: Most items that Amazon sells directly or through "qualified sellers" are eligible for free two-day shipping with Amazon Prime. Some of those products are also eligible for free one-day shipping. Oversize items, such as heavy furniture or larger TVs, get free standard shipping. Items sold through third parties (via Amazon Marketplace) are ineligible for Prime shipping discounts.
A.: You can't share your membership with others in your household, as you can with a standard Prime subscription. Though Prime Photos and discounts on new video game releases are included in the six-month free trial period, students do not have access to Amazon's Prime Music, Prime Instant Video or Kindle Lending Library.
A.: You can sign up for a full Prime paid subscription at any time; you don't have to wait for the six-month trial to end.
A.: You may not need Amazon Prime for the free shipping benefits. Purchases that exceed $35 already get free delivery.
As far as the additional benefit of streaming services goes, if you are happy with other streaming video or music services you already subscribe to (such as Hulu, Netflix, Apple Music or Spotify), Amazon's media offerings may not provide you with anything new. (Check Amazon Prime's video and music listings to see.) The same is true if you don't read e-books, or if you use another reader, such as Apple iBooks or Google Play Books.
A.: If you don't have an Amazon account, start by setting one up here. It's free, but you will have to register a credit card so that Amazon has a way to charge you for purchases.
You'll also have to verify that you are a student. A college-issued email address ending in .edu qualifies you. (It's just for receiving a confirmation email from Amazon and doesn't have to be the address you use for your Amazon account.) Otherwise, you'll have to email Amazon a scan of a document proving you are a student, such as a transcript or a student ID. Amazon.com explains the details.
If, during the trial period, you decide that Amazon Student isn't worth paying for, go to your account (before the trial period ends), select Manage Prime Membership and click Do Not Continue.
In the meantime, here are some current Student coupons you can take advantage of via membership.