Wait, What’s Free College Tuition?

New York

I wouldn’t know because I don’t live in New York. If you’ve somehow not heard already, New York is officially the first city in the U.S. to offer tuition free college to students. But before you start packing your bags, be aware that there’s a catch (because there’s always a catch).

First, it’s important to know that the free tuition is more scholarship based. According to CNN Money, there is an income cap for those eligible of $100,000 and the scholarship only applies to SUNY (State University of New York) and CUNY (City University of New York) school systems.

The Excelsior Scholarship, the actual name of this amazing free-tuition opportunity, only applies to students studying full-time and on track to graduate in either two or four years depending on their program. Unfortunately, the scholarship would only cover a student’s tuition and not textbook fees, room and board, or the many other costs of going to college, so if you love seeing your refund check each year, this won’t aid you there. This doesn’t come close to the biggest catch of all.

The New York Times says that students who receive this scholarship MUST stay  and work in New York for the same amount of time that they received the scholarship, i.e. if you used the scholarship all four years of college then you’re stuck in New York for another four. Otherwise, if you decide to leave for other potential opportunities, the scholarship you received turns into a federal loan you have to pay back.

Very catchy, right? It’s like Cinderella’s carriage turning into a pumpkin at the stroke of midnight because she didn’t want to go back to her step-mother.

Although we all don’t qualify for this amazing scholarship, there are still ways to maintain your college budget. If you haven’t yet, read our posts What You Need to Know About Borrowing for College and The Truth About Student Loans and Debt for need-to-knows on paying for college.

Luckily for us, we all know about downloading the Freenters drive to earn money for printing at no additional cost.



A Priest, A Minister, and a Rabbi Walk Into A Bar…

20160509_121621Actually, there weren’t any religious figures, but there was a college student, his roommate, and a great idea.

Rho Kook Song and Paul Park are the co-founders of Freenters Inc.. They were college Rho and Paulroommates and fraternity brothers, at the University of Chicago, who wanted to create something that sparked the interest of young college students. By combining their bank savings and getting help from friends and family, they were able to jump start a new innovation.

Paul said they were very nervous and maybe a little introverted at first, but were quickly able to adapt to greeting people everyday and starting the business.

“We had this idea we just wanted to make a reality,” Rho said.

They created Freenters, a way of
satisfying your daily printing needs while earning some cash, simply by using the driver to print ads on each page. Yet, the first model wasn’t what we’re used to today. Back in October 2013, they were able to start sending the first hardware models out onto 22 different college campuses in Chicago, Boston, and New York.

“Starting out, everybody who has never worked on a startup has a romantic view of startups,” said Paul. “I don’t think it’s for everybody.”

The growth of the business came to a halt when they experienced their first hack on the website. It may have been one of the most difficult periods in the company, but it made it stronger.

Paul laughed as he said, “This is why we can’t have nice things.”

They were only economic majors who had a lot to learn and today value the experience because it taught them to prioritize security and hiring people who could get the job done.

The original model was far from a total loss in the company, but rather a pivotal moment in Freenters success. Our co-founders entered into the University of Chicago’s College New Venture Challenge and won, winning $10,000 in support of their new start-up company. The competition brought them immense support from their university and they met their first investor.

In only a year, the growth of the company was great, but they wanted something more scalable to meet the demands of the market, hence the creation of the Freenters driver.

Rho admitted Paul being the more “tech savvy” of the two and Rho works hard to to supplement the numerous duties of a CEO, yet both equally contribute to new objectives and highly encourage their employees to collaborate on creative ideas as well.

Paul confessed that there are very new and exciting things coming to the public in the near future.

“We are currently serving the college market, but we know that they are not the only ones who print in the world, and many adults print everyday. The process has been limited to college students and people can look forward to the [expansion into] the household market.”


Five $5 meals under 500 calories

Studying, working, going to class, trying to maintain a social life… No one has time for meal prepping. So for the days you are broke and forgot to meal prep, I give you five budget-friendly and delicious meals under 500 calories from your favorite fast food chains.


Taco Bell

Say what? Taco Bell? Who would have thought that our favorite late night mistake has actually climbed to the top of the food chain with multiple options for healthy food. From their salads to wraps, Taco Bell has become one of best options for choosing healthier food. Today I present to you, the chicken cantina bowl *que Angels singing*. The chicken cantina bowl is just under 400 calories and is filled to the brim cilantro lime rice, chicken, CHEESE, black beans, lettuce, pico, sour cream, AND GUAC. All for $5.00! 400 calories never sounded so delicious.



El Pollo Loco

El pollo loco is known for being a fresher option, however they tend to be expensive. My favorite meal is the two piece chicken meal with macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes, but the total comes out to a whopping $8.00 and 820 calories! Yikes! My new option is to get a kids two piece (180 calories) and a mashed potatoes (100 calories) and gravy (20 calories). The total is just over $4.00 and 300 calories. The meal comes with a drink and your choice of corn or flour tortillas! I avoid the extra calories of the tortillas.


Carne Asada Tacos

Okay what better excuse to scurry on down to your favorite taco shop? Carne Asada tacos average at about 80 calories each, coming with carne asada, cilantro, onions, and two corn tortillas. Lose one of the corn tortillas on each taco and you’re cutting the calorie count to 55 calories per taco. And at a average of $ 0.75-1.50 a taco, you can order up to five and still be under 300 calories. Are you crying yet? So yes girl, douse it salsa and avocado. You deserve it.



We have a few options from chick-fil-a and they’re a bit of a cheat. Chick-fil-a cooks all of they’re food in peanut butter oil, making it a better option that most fast food joints! For under five dollars you can get 4 chicken strips (470 calories), a chicken sandwich (480 calories), or my favorite, a spicy chicken deluxe (490 calories it has cheese and mayo). If you avoid getting fries you can enjoy a Lowe calorie meal treat for a good price!


Panda Express

A staple for when we need our Chinese food fix. By ordering a kids meal you get a perfect sized portion of one side and one entree. Broccoli beef (150 calories) and white rice (200 calories) is your best bet for the lowest (and most bareable) food option. I know you’re wondering about the orange chicken. Can you get it? It is it under the 500 calorie mark? Yes it is, but just barely. Orange chicken for child portion ranks at 300 calories. If your Panda Express offers brown rice try getting that instead of white rice to reduce it to 180 calories.


So there you have it. My quick go-to guide on meals under 500 calories and $5!!! Enjoy and happy hunting!


Disclaimer: taxes and prices vary from city to city so be sure to research a little before going out! 🙂


How To Spend Your Free Time For the Greater Good

We spend a lot of time on this blog talking about what you should do and how you should do it on various topics, most of which involving your free time. When you’re experiencing the lazy Saturday or know you won’t have plans for the weekend, don’t spend time wallowing in your unsociable sorrows and try out these things to benefit your community.

Donating blood#Donated #Blood

Making a donation is one of the easiest ways you can make a difference. It’s as simple as walking in, getting to relax, and getting free food at the end. If you’re worried about needles don’t panic; go in with your friends and conquer a fear. It’s just one tiny pin prick that will save multiple lives. If donating blood is something you’re comfortable with, consider donating plasma and make some money out of it. Most campuses have opportunities about when you can donate, otherwise visit the American Red Cross to find a location to donate near you! If you want to know more about plasma donations, visit donatingplasma.org.

PhilanthropyImage result for helping the homeless

As you may know, there are dozens of opportunities to involve yourself in charity work on campus. Seek out these organizations and take the initiative. If you don’t know where to look, you can visit DoSomething.org and find opportunities from wherever you’re located.

Multicultural Services

And as many of you may not know, there are ways you can help on a smaller spectrum. Often times campuses have some kind of center for international students. Stop by and find out ways where you can help a fellow student with tutoring or even just finding their way around campus, or if you’re interested in becoming a tutor alone that’s a great opportunity as well.

Music Heals All

Accoustic Jam in Hongkong
Do you love musical performance and want to help someone in need? Musicians on Call is an amazing nonprofit that brings musicians to patients in hospitals that need a little cheering up. Whether you consider yourself to be an amateur or a pro, sign up to be a part of this amazing movement to perform your music in hospitals either in New York, Philadelphia, Nashville, Miami, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, or Baltimore.

Give Your Voice to Someone Else

Has anyone ever told you that you love the sound of your own voice? Well then why not put it to good use. VocalID.org allows you to record your voice from the comfort of your own home and they use it to create a synthetic voice for those who have the inability to speak on their own.

All these activities look great on a resume, so along with the joy of giving back, helping others will always benefit you in the end. Remember to help out your friends too and tell them to download Freenters to print what they need and earn money when they want!

What You Need to Know About Borrowing for College


In 1993, less than 20% of students earning their bachelors degree did not take out student loans. As of today about 68% of current students borrow annually.

WIthin the last twenty-five years, tuition has quadrupled in price, raising faster for anyone in the middle or lower class to keep up.

Federal Stafford Loans

With so many offers and FAFSA’s not-so-user-friendly format, students and parents are stumped about which loans to utilize. The Federal Stafford Loan is designed specifically for students. Borrowers are to repay their debt six months after graduating college or after they’ve started their job outside of the university.

Some facts about the Federal Stafford Loan:

Unsubsidized Vs. Subsidized

If possible, stick to subsidized stafford loans. Students who qualify for subsidized loans do not need to worry about interest accruing while they are in school. Interest will begin to build once qualified students graduate. However, those granted an unsubsidized loan will accrue interest while they attend school.

Student Loan interest rate on subsidized loans has lowered substantially to 3.4%, however, this is subject to change at the beginning of the new student loan year. The interest on unsubsidized loans sits at 6.8%. The department of Education and Congress continue to debate whether the lower interest rates should be kept.

Which Do I Qualify For?

Your college or university will inform you which financial aid packages are available to you (i.e scholarships applied, grants, and loans). In your financial aid package you will find a breakdown of what loans you qualified for. Subsidized loans are usually awarded to those whose family makes under $50,000. It is common to see both loans available to you.

The amount you can borrow is broken down in the chart below. This is the maximum amount a dependent student can borrow per year:


What You Need To Know:

If you can avoid loans, do at all costs. Borrowing can be a heavy burden, but not a defeating one. If possible, also try to avoid borrowing over the general maximum of $27,000 and keep an eye on the interest. Pay during school if you can, but if not do not worry too much. Payment plans will be set accordingly. Remember to utilize subsidized loans when possible!

Do You Think You’re Not Getting Enough Sleep Each Night?


Only around 11 percent of college students report that they consistently gain enough sleep each night because sleep deprivation is an ongoing epidemic on college campuses.

Sleep deprivation may seem like the new norm, but depriving your body of much needed rest can hurt your GPA, lead to ongoing health problems, and result in a threat to your life.

When you’re not getting enough sleep each night it affects your three learning processes: Acquisition, the ability to store information, Consolidation, your brain making use of the information, and Recall, the ability to access your memories. The Rundown compares sleep deprivation to both binge drinking and drug use, stating that all three have similar affects on student’s test scores.

In this regard, CBSNews said that driver’s without enough sleep are four times as likely to getting in an accident  as those who had the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep. If you’re someone who uses a car on campus, you could be a risk to not only yourself, but others around you. 

Sixty percent of people admit to drowsy driving and over a third of people have fallen asleep at the wheel. If you’ve gone a full 24 hours without sleep it is the same as driving with a blood alcohol level of .10, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

Huffington Post adds that 20 percent of young adults are receiving only less than five hours of sleep each night. This can lead to numerous health problems like depression, attention deficits, higher risk of obesity, and dependence on sleep and anxiety medications.

Interestingly enough, NPR noted that that women on average go to bed earlier, wake up earlier, and for biological reasons still need more sleep than men! While around 11 percent of male college students suffer from insomnia, nearly 30 percent of female college students suffer the same, so make sure you’re getting your beauty sleep ladies!


there are many ways you can combat this campus-wide epidemic. Make sure you have your daily routine down. It’s too easy to come home, jump into bed and type Netflix into your browser. Sit at your desk (and not your bed because your brain will begin to associate it with productivity) and do some homework. Then you can reward yourself with snacks and whatever else tickles your fancy, then end the night with something relaxing like a book, bath, or playing with your dog.

Even a new pillow or, if you can afford it, a mattress pad can aid your sleep game. Dorm room beds were basically made for jail cells and everyone loves new pillows, so you shouldn’t let your sleep patterns be affected by something so simple. Stay comfortable!

Finally, eliminate your go-to things which may include, caffeine, television, cellphone, laptop, and any screen usage, and alcohol before bed. While sometimes it’s inevitable to avoid the sleepless study nights, there are things you can do to help get a better nights rest.

The Truth About Student Loans and Debt

According to a study conducted by the New York Times, 94% of students earning their bachelors degree have utilized student loans. That is up 49% from 1993’s 45% amount of students borrowing.

Image result for student loans

What is going on?

Within the last decade, state governments have shifted more financial responsibility to the families of students in college. Despite the fact that the enrollment in state colleges and universities has increased immensely, most states have actually cut their spending for higher education, allocating their money to things such as military, prison upkeep, and other political agendas. This trend has continued to accelerate as state budgets increasingly shrink due to financial crisis and unpopular tax increases.

National, state, and local spending per one student was adjusted for inflation and ultimately reached the lowest amount within the last 25 years. This jeopardizes the long-standing belief that state subsidized higher education is available to those of the lower and middle class. Meanwhile, cost of tuition and fees further increase, passing the rate of inflation. According to the Department of Education, should these trends continue, the average cost of a public college will double within the next fifteen years.

As of Right Now

The average student debt is $27,000.00
4 out of 10 Americans carry student debt
In 2015, 53% of graduates were unemployed
Almost 2 million people over 60 are still paying off student debt

Who Else is Responsible?

Colleges also have neglected to address their affordability issues. Institutions continue to urge students to apply despite their financial situation, but offer no solution for the long gap. Just as mortgage brokers promised a worry-free borrowing process for homeowners before the market crash, many colleges refuse to offer warnings about student debt to their doe-eyed student prospects.

The Fault of Borrowing

Without second thoughts, students are forced to borrow heinous amounts of money, throwing themselves into debt before the age 20. Beyond federal loans, it’s too difficult to borrow from private lenders because of the easy credit allowance. Students with no understanding of the concept money or loans borrow amounts that would otherwise be denied to them. This phenomena has led 43% of students to declare bankruptcy by the age of 30.

The Hope in it All

College debt is not always bad. It continues to rise and proves to leave the students at an ever increasing disadvantage, some debt is perfectly acceptable. Preparing for debt and learning as much as you can about it will only help your future. If students were to borrow from the federal stafford loan program only, they would suffer less consequences. For most this will be a $27,000 max loan.

For more information on student loans please see tomorrow’s post:

What You Need To Know About Borrowing for College


Tips for the Freshmen

Courtesy of CollegeDegrees360

Whether you’re waiting for your college acceptance letters to come in the mail or you’re currently a college Freshman half way through your first year, you can learn from a few tips on how to survive the first year of college.

Spending Your Life Savings On Textbooks Textbooks

There are so many ways to get around paying full price for your textbooks each year. Sometimes it’s beneficial to buy your books and then sell them back at the end of the year, but know that there are other solutions. Companies like Chegg often offer lower prices on textbooks and Chegg sends you a digital copy while you wait for your textbooks to come in the mail. Also consider getting digital versions if your teacher allows it; digital copies are usually cheaper solutions. Then there’s always the option of simply renting. Your textbooks are nearly half the price, and someone may have taken great notes in it before you. Visit MoneyTalksNews for more ways on how to save money on your books.

The Dreaded Freshman 15fat cat

The easiest way to avoid the Freshman 15 is to have a game plan. You have to go into college thinking, “Will I fall victim to the deadly freshman 15? NO!”
The best way to avoid overeating is to actually eat more. What? Yes, it’s true. Dr. Diekman, MEd, RD says that, “Eating snacks or mini-meals after every three or four hours can help avoid bingeing,” so as long as it’s mini, snack away! If you’re really committed to dropping the pounds, Great Value Colleges has 29 more ways you can fight the Freshman 15.

Packing for College suitcase

Sooner than later you’ll begin to realize that less is always more. You don’t have to rebuild your bedroom from back home and you won’t “possibly use that shirt for a special occasion” that you’ve been pushing to the side for months. If you didn’t wear it back home, chances are you won’t wear it in college. To help you out, here’s The College Packing List, an entire website dedicated to packing for college. Narrow down your essentials, and thank me later when it’s time to move out.

Budgeting College

Consider the following: The amount of money you came to college with, the amount of money you earn (if you have a job), how much you need for necessities, savings and THEN how much you have left for yourself. Try downloading the app Level Money! It updates you on your spendable budget in real-time so you can see how much you have left over for the day, week, or month!

Roommates Goalsbefore dorm meeting

If you’re one of the many wondering what your first roommate will be like, here’s a little advice. Set ground rules for each other in the beginning. Is it okay to have your girlfriend spend the night on the weekends? Who’s going to take out the trash? This will prevent avoidable arguments in the future. Also, try studying together! It’s a great way to get to know them and hey, riding the struggle bus is always more fun with another person. If you’re still anxious about your future roomie, Forbes has more tips for survival.

And remember, download and spread the word to download the Freenters drive to your computer to gain some extra cash. As a freshman, you’ll quickly learn that you print way too many papers to not gain something out of it (other than an A+ of course).

What can your Student ID do for you?

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College is expensive. With tuition, gas, room and board all adding up you barely have enough money to even think about eating. Here’s a guide on how to utilize your student Id to its fullest extent.


A list of the best places to eat for cheap.

Image result for chipotleChipotle

Who doesn’t love the healthy options that chipotle offers? Show your student ID and get a free drink! Now you have enough to get that extra guac.


Eating fresh never sounded better! When you’re in the mood for something light and quick Subway offers the best fresh ingredients for your sandwichy needs. Get 10% off when you show your ID.


If you are just as obsessed as I am with chick-fil-a then this is a dream come true. Most locations offer a 10% off discount or a free drink when you show your student ID. #SpicyChickenDeluxe

Sam’s Club

Sign-up for a Sam’s Club Collegiate membership and get a free $15 Sam’s Gift Card. You will also receive “student only” coupons.


Amazon Prime

This one doesn’t require a student ID, however, it does require your student email address. Get Amazon Prime for free for three months when you sign up with your student email address. After your membership runs out wait one month and renew it again for free. This comes in handy when ordering last minute textbooks…or snacks. Amazon Prime also provides movie and show streaming just like Netflix!


Mac computers come with a hefty price tag, but with your student ID  head over to your local apple store and get $200 off any Mac laptop or $50 off any Ipad.

Image result for spotify photosSpotify

Students get a 10% discount on the Spotify premium. Premium comes out to only $4.99 per month, not bad for an ad-free music app! Not to mention it frees up a lot of space on your phone if you don’t download the music.


Students can save up to 80% off popular Adobe software.  Click here for more information.



Banana Republic

Banana Republic is your one stop shop for professional clothes. With important internships and job interviews approaching its handy to have a place to go that you can get a discount. Show your student ID and get 10% off your purchase!

Ann Taylor

Ann Taylor is another spot to buy business attire! Get 15% off when you show your ID.

Image result for h&mH&M

H&M offers 15% off at select stores  to students who show their ID. It’s hard to beat their already great prices!

***You can bundle coupons on top of your discounts at some of these retail stores! Check online for coupons***



Image result for regal theatersRegal Theaters

Have you seen our cheap date post yet? It has plenty of dates well under twenty dollars for you and your sweetie to go out and spend some quality time with out breaking the bank. Places like Regal theaters offers $1.50 off of movie tickets anytime Sunday-Thursday!

Cinemark Theaters

Who doesn’t love a movie night out with your friends? Check this list of all the Cinemark theaters in the U.S. that offer a student discount.

Check your local theaters for $5 movie nights too!



Being an adult is hard and paying the bills is even harder. Get 20% off your insurance with Allstate if you’re a full time student. Are you in good hands? You are now.

State Farm

State Farm offers a  student discount program that not only gives you 25% if you get good grades, but the savings lasts even after you graduate until you reach the age of 25.


Avoid Poor Spending Habits


Sometimes when you get to college, it’s your first experience with true independence. We have a tendency to not invest where we should and spend money on things we don’t need. Whether it’s your first year in school or your last, everyone makes the same common mistakes. Make sure you don’t pick up on these poor spending habits in college.

Letting All Your Money Go To Food8603285951_80a30c4311_k.jpg

Okay, we can admit that it’s a lot easier to spend your dollars on that McChicken, but you should minimize your visits. It may be tempting to eat out with your friends most nights, but cutting back can save you big bucks. College Connections from Wells Fargo says that by limiting yourself to two lunches a week can save you at least $30 a week and $450 a semester. Fast food is great for saving time, but a meal  at home is cost effective, can last for days and your bikini-ready body will thank you.

Impulse Buys3892725795_389f688a58_b.jpg

There’s nothing wrong with spoiling yourself every once in a while, but don’t make it your pass time.  CNN says that “When it comes to making major purchases, patience is a virtue.” Often times, when there’s something you’ve had your eye on, there may be a big sale coming up, making it worth the wait.

Paying Your Bills Late26700613813_d687c7d70a_o.jpg

This may be obvious, but also easy to forget. The College Investor encourages students to pay their bills on time so their credit score isn’t affected for the future. It will only cost you more through late fees and interest charges. College is the best time to both begin establishing credit and gaining responsibility as an independent adult.

Spending Money On Printingcb6qsaicablhpudx0phe.jpg

Why are you still spending money on printing?! There’s nothing worse than a professor who hasn’t caught on to the digital age and wants you to physically turn in your 20 page paper. If you have yet to download the Freenters drive onto your computer, you’re not only losing money, but you’re losing money. First you’re losing money from campus printing, and second your not earning money through Freenters’ printing. Visit our website and start earning money for what you’re already required to do. It’s fast, it’s easy, and it’s free to use.