students outside studying with laptop and book - technology and studentsBeing a student is financially tough. Not only do students have to worry about paying for food, room, gas and tuition, but they have to worry about paying for technology.

Students need to figure out how to buy the technology they need because tech has become as essential to them as pens and paper were to another generation. Laptops are needed for general work. Software like Microsoft Office or Adobe's Creative Suite are used for word processing, presentations and visual arts and website design. Not only that, but students even have to pay vexing shipping rates, as shopping online is quite popular.Fortunately, technology companies sympathize with the emptiness of a college student's wallet and offer educational discounts on a range of products.

Apple is a big proponent of student discounts, which makes sense given its products are popular on campuses around the country. The Cupertino-based company offers $50 to $200 discounts on the MacBook line of laptops and offers $50 discounts on desktop computers like the Mac Mini, iMac and Mac Pro.

During the warm summer months the company offers free iPod Touches, after mail-in rebates, to students who purchase a Mac computer for school.The only thing they'll need from you is a student ID to verify status as a college student.

If you don't want a Mac, PC manufacturers Dell and Hewlett-Packard offer student discounts as well. Dell goes straight for Apple and has an "Apples to Apples Comparison" promotion for students. Dell claims that students can save up to $1,000 on Dell laptops comparable to MacBooks in specifications. Dell even encourages students to buy things like an iPod Touch with their savings.

If Dell doesn't do it for you, HP will hopefully take care of you. It offers discounts on multiple products with both mail-in and instant rebates. HP is a little more strict in confirming student status than its PC-brethren in that HP says that "HP Home & Home Office Store reserves the right to contact you and request verification of your eligibility status and terminate your eligibility if not provided with such verification upon request."

Perfectly happy with your PC? Just need to upgrade to Windows 7? Microsoft has got your back. The software giant offers Windows 7 Professional Upgrade for a cool $64.94, which is a tremendous discount when you consider that it retails for a wallet-crunching $199.99.

That's not the only thing Microsoft offers. It also has a special on its newly-released Office for Mac 2011 -- 50% off. Both discounts require you to provide Microsoft with your university or school email address. Other software companies like Adobe are also offering discounts, with Adobe offering up to 80% off on software like Creative Suite 5 for students.

If you don't need any software, but shop a lot online, then Amazon Student would be a good option for you as you search for your affordable tech needs. Amazon's program nets you free shipping for a year with Amazon Prime and discounts on certain products like textbooks. The program is free and only requires an .edu email address from your school or university to sign up.

With some of these deals, students will hopefully be able to save some money and spend less time balancing budgets and more time hitting the books.

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