6 Passive Income Ideas For College Students

By Elise Nelson on June 1, 2021

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College students are often faced with a very confusing dilemma: they need a source of income to afford tuition, housing, books, and other expenses, but they don’t have much time to dedicate to a job. On top of classes and studying for said classes, students are typically expected to have well-rounded extracurricular experiences. That’s great, but when factoring in all of that and time for sleep, when is there time for a part-time job? For some students, it’s not plausible. However, there’s still a way to earn some cash without heading to a job multiple nights a week: passive income. By Corporate Finance Institute’s definition, passive income is “any money earned in a manner that does not require too much effort.” Here are a few simple, and some creative, passive income ideas for college students.

passive income ideas

Photo by Steve Johnson from Pexels

Start a blog

If you’ve got a talent for writing, you may want to consider starting your very own blog in your free time. The beauty of owning your own blog is that you can write about whatever you want! Maybe you have some interesting personal stories to share, or you have enough specific knowledge about a topic to create a niche blog. You can use engaging and high-quality content to bring in an audience, and then you’ll be able to monetize your blog with ads! All you have to do is sign up for work with an ad network and display their ad code on your blog. The more clicks an ad gets, the more money you make.

Rent out your space – or your stuff

One of the more common passive income ideas involves renting. Now, as a college student, you probably don’t have the time or the means to be a full-fledged landlord. However, you can still participate in renting. Maybe you can rent out your garage or another storage space that you aren’t using (so long as you own the space). You can also rent out any useful items that you don’t use often, such as a bike or any electronics. As The Penny Hoarder noted, Craigslist is a great place to list your items for rent, as well as Zilok and Loanables. Just be sure to read any rules and suggestions before renting!

Become a brand affiliate 

If you just can’t rave enough about your favorite brand’s products, it may be worth seeing if they have an affiliate program. As a brand affiliate, you’ll promote the company’s products on your social media platforms or blog. When customers buy products using a special link provided to them by the brand, you’ll earn a commission. The commission percentage varies by company, but it’s usually between 10 and 20 percent. Some brands may even create a special discount code with your name to entice sales. You can keep the link in your social media bios and occasionally remind your followers to shop through the link. Affiliate marketing is extremely popular right now, so it’s a great time to get in on the action.

passive income ideas

Photo by Tim Samuel from Pexels

Complete surveys 

If you’re looking to rake in just a little bit of extra cash, then online surveys are often the way to go. There are tons of survey sites that pay you to complete surveys on a variety of topics, products, and brands, and they only take a few minutes to complete! All you need is an internet connection to start taking surveys. Swagbucks, Survey Junkie and InboxDollars are just a few options for a passive income. Most of these sites operate on a points system for each survey you complete. The points then translate to a dollar amount. However, do note that in many cases, you must reach a specific point value before you can cash out. For example, Survey Junkie requires 1,000 points, which is $10 earned, in order to cash out.

Start a Twitch channel 

This one is great for video game lovers. If you’ve got a gaming setup and access to recording gear like a good computer, a microphone, and a camera, then you can start Twitch streaming. Put simply, a Twitch stream is a live video feed where followers can watch you play a video game. While the everyday Twitch streamer does not make money from their streams, you can strive to become a Twitch Affiliate. Criteria for Twitch Affiliate status includes 50 followers, eight hours of streaming, and a few other qualifications. At this level, you can begin to monetize your videos by allowing paid subscriptions to your channel. Additionally, many Twitch Affiliates use affiliate marketing to promote gaming products and earn a commission on sales. Even if you don’t play video games, Twitch does house many other genres, including cooking shows and talk shows.

Create and sell books on Amazon

This is another great passive income idea for any creative types. Don’t worry – you don’t need to pen the great American novel to participate in Amazon bookselling. Children’s educational books, storybooks, and coloring books are particularly easy to make, and they sell well online. You can design your book using layout applications like Canva or Adobe Spark. When you’re ready to sell, simply sign up as a self-publishing seller on Amazon. Once you post the listing, you’ll rake in money for every book purchase!

It’s important to remember that these ideas probably won’t make you rich, and it may take some time for you to see any substantial earnings. If you’re really in need of a good income as a college student, it’s worth seeing if you can handle a part-time job. But, in the meantime, these passive income ideas can bring you a little extra spending money each month.

It’s no secret that college costs a lot of money. Make sure your investment in higher education is protected with GradGuard. Our affordable tuition insurance and renters insurance plans are specifically designed for college students. Customizable plans make it easy to protect your tuition, room and board, laptop, bike, and so much more.

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