I’m married to a graduate student.
My husband, Daniel, is earning his Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia. Yes, he is the one who has to burn the midnight oil and pore over dull case studies. But it’s not all fun and games being the spouse of a graduate student, either. I don’t get to see him as much as I did when we both worked “normal” full-time jobs, and I let his stress affect me.
But students have access to a lot of benefits. And the best news for me? I can take advantage of some of the privileges the university offers my husband.
All you have to do is register for a student dependent card through the school. You know how your spouse has a student ID card? A student dependent card is the exact same thing, except it’s for spouses.
Here are the best deals I’ve gotten by being married to a student. Keep in mind, I’ve accessed these benefits from the University of Georgia, but experiences at other schools could vary.
1. Health Insurance
Granted, in most cases, campus insurance isn’t super expansive. Ours covers general health issues; I have to pay extra for vision insurance, and dental insurance isn’t even an option.
But it’s still better than nothing. I’ve even been able to pick up prescriptions for a fraction of the pharmacy price thanks to insurance through my husband’s school.
2. The Health Center
A student spouse gets access not only to health insurance but also to the school’s health center. Most schools just require a student health fee at the beginning of each semester. As a student dependent, my fee is $290 per term. But considering that one visit with a university clinician to get a birth control prescription is $204, that once-per-semester payment is worth it.
After paying that fee, you have access to services such as mental health therapy, physical therapy and the women’s clinic.
Depending on the school, you may still have a small co-pay when you visit the campus health center. In addition to my $290 fee, I still have to pay $25 each time I visit the campus psychological services center. But that’s much better than the $190 I would have to dish out otherwise.
3. The Gym
Gyms are expensive, and I put off joining one for a long time because I didn’t want to spend the money. I just jogged outdoors.
But once I developed shin splints, I needed an alternative form of cardio exercise.
A fellow student informed me that as the wife of a student, I could get into the gym for a measly $15 per month — and no initial joining fee. The best deal I’ve found at other nearby gyms is $40 per month with no joining fee, so this student discount is looking sweeter and sweeter.
University gyms are usually of fairly high quality. Ours has an amazing pool, two weight rooms, numerous cardio machines and a rock climbing wall. All for only $15 per month? Score!
4. The Library
Use your student dependent card to check out books from the school’s library.
Yes, you can check out books from your local public library for free. However, people with specific needs may want to use the campus library instead.
For example, if you want to conduct your own research or if you’re a voracious learner, you’ll have access to tons of academic resources.
5. Student Discounts in Town
Students show their cards to get discounts at lots of places. Go out with your spouse and earn discounts on movie tickets, clothes or football games.
Even if an establishment doesn’t accept your student dependent card, if you’re with your husband or wife, you can simply have them purchase both tickets. For example, my husband shows his student ID and orders two tickets every time we go to the movies. So far, no one has ever declined to give him discounts on both tickets.
Every university has its own regulations regarding students’ spouses. Never be afraid to call the school’s offices to ask about the perks that are available to you as a husband or wife.
Laura Grace Tarpley is a nomad and freelance writer who runs the blog Let’s Go Tarpley!, where she shares tips about budget travel and moving abroad. Follow her on Twitter @lgtarpley.
This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.
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