Free Programs That Make a Huge Impact On Campus

Budgets can become a barrier to progression when it comes to campus programing, that’s why everyones eyes light up when they hear the word FREE. It’s practically human instinct to opt for an option that costs less, this comes with a price sometimes. Cutting corner prove to be an ineffective tragedy to better your university. So we came up with three quick ideas for free programs that would make a huge impact on your campus.

Mentoring program

College is a time of exploration, from time to time though your journey through higher education isn’t smooth sailing and a nudge in the right direction is needed. Mentors can provide insight which can help you adapt to your new academic, cultural, and recreational settings while helping throughout your progression. Campus mentors can help students harbor positive relationships, connect you to necessary resources, and explore opportunities. Offering mentors volunteer hours, class credit and incentives can be a way to reward them for all their hard work.

Community discount program

stretching a dollar is a skill some college students struggle with so if you can positively impact a students wallet or purse it’s a good thing. Take dining out as an example, you’re spending around $10 a meal which doesn’t sound like a lot but over time it adds up. Let;s say you eat out 3-4 times a week you end up spending $30.00-$40.00 per week, that’s $1,560- $2,080 a year alone. Schools such as the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, have set up community discount program like  their Bulls In The Burg program that provides surrounding business with advertisement for exchange their students receive discounts to these various participating businesses in the surrounding area .

So lets factor in a discount of 10%-15% for the 3-4 meals a week students dine out. Your meal would now cost around $8.50-$9.00, about $25.50-$36.00 a week, which is anywhere from $1,326 to $1,872 a year. That probably doesn’t sound like a big difference but that 10%-15% discount would save students on average of $221 a year just of food alone and $884 over a 4 year college career. These types of programs can stretch beyond discounts on food. According to, college students spend $4 billion a year on personal care products, $648 million a year on theater tickets and $5 billion a year on shoes and clothes. Students spend approximately $13,000 a year on discretionary spending which is $211 a month. The moral of the story is if its possible to save college students a little bit of money we should do so.

Textbook Sharable/Rental

Most courses you take throughout college require some sort of Textbook or reading material. These books cost up to $200 a piece. According to the Government Accountability Office, textbook prices skyrocketed 82 percent between 2002-12, and the average student budget for books and supplies has grown to $1,207 annually, that’s $4,828 over a four year college degree. CNBC conducted a survey of 2,000 college students across 150 different campuses and this is what they found.

65% of the students said they decided against buy textbooks because it was too expensive, nearly 48% said the cost of books impacted how many or which classes they took, and 94% of the student who opted to not buy the required textbook were afraid this would negatively impact their grade. An answer of tho this issue could be open-source textbook libraries like The University of Minnesota’s Open Textbook Library provides complete licensed textbooks, so teachers and students can freely use, adapt, and distribute the material. Open textbooks can be downloaded for no cost, or printed inexpensively.

We believe free programing can help alleviate some of the financial burden placed on college students and help them become acclimated to their new environment. These are just a few examples we felt could be implemented easily at institutions across the country.

If you have any other ideas of free programming that could make a huge impact on your campus please feel free to leave us a comment below!

Anthony Freese

About the author: Anthony Freese (he/him) is formerly the Director of Marketing at Modern Campus Presence, the complete student engagement platform. Learn how we can help get your students involved.