UCSD Logo UCSD Logo For Printing
Social Bookmarks

Back to School on a Budget: How Students Can Save Money in Tough Economic Times

January 27, 2009

By Christine Clark

Students and their families are facing tough economic times so UC San Diego is helping students make every dollar count.

Photo fo a student sitting against wall
Senior Jessica Wall works tirelessly
to save money and the environment.

Senior Dianne Bautista is one of many students who is saving money by spending more time on campus, saving on transportation costs and taking advantage of deals at UC San Diego. When she does venture off campus, she buys generic items and even purchases clothes from the Salvation Army to spend less. “College is a time for students to learn how to manage money on their own,” said Bautista, who is majoring in pharmacological chemistry. “I try to save money because it's just one of those life skills that's needed.”

Here are more money-saving resources for UC San Diego Students:

$1.95 Value Menu: Hungry students don’t have to drive off campus to get a deal on food. This year Housing, Dining, Hospitality added a $1.95 value menu with items such as breakfast burritos, hamburgers and stir fry. UC San Diego offers an a la cart style meal plan which is one of the lowest in all the UC campuses.

Bautista said she doesn’t have a hard time finding great deals on food.  “I usually take advantage of the 50-cent all-you-can-eat breakfasts at Revelle College,” she said.  “At the International Center on Fridays you can get international dishes for only $5 and on Wednesdays the Co-op sells $5 dishes of vegetarian food at the Old Student Center.”

In addition, every Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the campus Farmer’s Market which sells giant pretzels, produce, sizzling barbecued chicken, and more.

Photo fo a student sitting against wall
Senior Dianne Bautista (far left) doesn’t have
a hard time finding affordable meals on campus.

Utilities, Security and Cleaning Included: About half of all UC San Diego students live on campus, where they can save money in a variety of ways. “When you live on campus, you don’t need a car and that adds a huge value,” Mark Cunningham, executive director of Housing, Dining, Hospitality, said. “Take the cost of owning, maintaining and operating the car plus the monthly parking fee and you can save the on-campus residents thousands of dollars annually.” In addition, student housing includes furnishings, utilities, high-speed Internet access, custodial service and personal security.

Students moving into campus housing also receive a reusable water bottle which not only saves money, but also lowers the need for recycling all those disposable water bottles.

There are other ways to live a more sustainable lifestyle on campus. “By composting my vegan food scraps, I no longer have to buy fertilizer for my patio plants and I maximize my waste diversion,” Senior Jessica Wall said. “I use efficient lighting and technology to reduce both emissions and my monthly electric bill.”

Stay in Shape on the Cheap: During the academic year, students have free access to all recreational facilities, including the Canyonview pool, main gym, recreation fields, tennis courts, track, outdoor volleyball and basketball courts. Students also get special pricing on all fee-based programs, activities, outdoor equipment rental, and recreation classes -- from poker and yoga to SCUBA.

Free Fun: Students can take advantage of free parties, art exhibits and concerts on campus. For only $3 students can catch pre-DVD release movies at the Price Center Theatre. The free “Pub After Dark” concert series features innovative talent at Porters Pub. Students also can catch singer-songwriters performing original music at 8 p.m. Mondays at Espresso Roma.

Any day of the week, students can seek inspiration in the art exhibits at Price Center where more than a dozen students exhibit their works each quarter. Many art exhibits feature an opening or closing reception with free appetizers and a chance to meet the artists. Student Center Block Parties are free events that take place once a month and give students a fun way to explore the Student Center or just hang out with friends and listen to a local band.

Supplies on a Shoe String: Students can find deals on school supplies, clothing and other merchandise in the UC San Diego Bookstore, which recently hosted its’ annual end-of-the-year sale where many items were more than 50 percent off.

Save on Studying: UC San Diego Libraries provide a wide variety of resources and services to support students’ academic pursuits, including access to more than seven million print and electronic books, journals, databases, course materials and multimedia materials. In addition, the Libraries offer numerous free instructional and outreach programs to help students succeed in their academic and research endeavors and serve as physical and virtual centers for study, reading and research on campus.

Don’t Pay the Pump: Parking and Transportation Services helps students save money on gas and parking expenses in many ways. More than half of the daily commuters to the UC San Diego campus pedal bikes, ride shuttle buses or carpool. The university also offers free shuttles, busses and access to Zipcars, vehicles parked on campus that can be reserved online and rented for low hourly and daily rates. UC San Diego’s commuters also have access to the Metropolitan Transit Station (MTS) pass, which costs $44 per month and provides unlimited access to regional buses and trolleys.


Media Contact: Christine Clark, 858-534-7618

Terms and Conditions of Use