Student Benefits

Besides student discounts at the movies and other venues, being a registered student for at least half time has its benefits. Mind you, I attend a California community college, where the fees are relatively low, even after they go up $10 to $36 a unit next year. If you can get financial aid to cover the fees and textbooks, and you don’t mind taking classes – to beef up your skills and add new ones, or to go for a degree – the benefits are out there. (The local transit service is free for students, believe it or not.)

I found an incredible student deal on Adobe Creative Suite 5 Design Standard – four big programs – for $199.95. Usually, that’s what students pay for one of those programs. There might still be a catch – I haven’t loaded it yet – but I did check before buying, and these are the full versions, not upgrades. I found it at They carry other vendors’ software too, but the Adobe products seem to have the deepest discounts.

Another student benefit I’m looking into is health insurance for California community college students (you might also be able to get an individual plan, but it might not be such a deal). It’s through Student Insurance, and the brochure is very frank about not covering pre-existing conditions. It’s tricky, though, because you have to pay a set amount up front – for three months, six months, or a year – and all current plans expire no later than October 31, 2011. But if I time it right – signing up in, say, September 2011 for the following year (assuming that’s possible), then the $1,450 I would pay for one year breaks down to $125 a month – unheard of these days.

I still have more research to do, to find out which doctors and especially hospitals are on their network, and to make sure there are no age restrictions, and to see if they have complaints or not about paying claims promptly. But if it’s for real, I’ll drop the $535 a month COBRA insurance (I’ll be sad to lose my doctor) and switch to this. Even though it won’t cover pre-existing conditions, it will cover catastrophic events like a car accident or cancer. Definitely worth a look.

Kind of makes up for the ridiculously high cost of textbooks, if only a little.


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