Starving Student Cards provide options for deals at local companies 

Starving Student Card is a program intended to support students while providing customers with deals at local businesses. Cards are available for purchase at the BYU Bookstore. (Annika Ohran)

A Starving Student Card can be a great deal for students depending on their budget and spending habits. 

Starving Student Card is a program to provide discounts and deals while benefiting students and other local companies and organizations. BYU students can purchase cards at the bookstore or use the app

The cards include deals from local companies in food, retail, entertainment, auto and more. The deals can range from unlimited use to once or twice per card, and vary from getting a free product with a purchase, buy-one-get-one-half-off deals and more, according to Tracy Brousseau, who works in customer service at the BYU Store. 

The cards are available for purchase to anyone, not just students, according to Jonathan Leavitt, who owns and runs the Utah County Starving Student Program. A card costs $30, Leavitt said, and if a student buys a card on campus they can purchase a second one for $10. 

“The coolest thing about Starving Students is that the proceeds from (the program) go to scholarships to help students, so that’s why it’s called Starving Students is because he thought it would be a great way to help restaurants but then also help students as well,” said Brousseau. 

Cards purchased in the BYU Store go to help students on campus. Historically, BYU has used the funds for needs-based scholarships, textbook scholarships or other ways to help students, Leavitt said. If someone buys a card on the app, they select an organization they want to support. 

The card includes guarantees such as a card for the next year for free if the buyer does not save at least $30 with the card, or a free replacement if the card gets lost, damaged or stolen. Leavitt said the intent is that anyone who buys a card is able to save money and have it pay for itself. Physical cards typically expire in October, with limited printouts that expire in February or March of the following year, Leavitt said, while a subscription on the app will last for a year from date of purchase.

Connor Elder, a senior studying information systems from Washington, got a Starving Student Card from a friend in January and said the card has helped him save money and have fun with friends. When he first got it, Elder used his card a couple of times a week, and while he did not use it as frequently during finals, he intends to use his card frequently again this summer. 

Elder thinks having a physical copy of the card is somewhat annoying, as it is easy to misplace and gets battered easily, and the app would be nice. Elder likes that the card includes things besides food, like car washes and haircuts, and provides a variety of discounts and free products. 

“I’d definitely say it’s worth it,” Elder said, and he would recommend the program to other students. 

Kayla Holland, a senior studying chemistry from Arizona, said if a students goes out to eat frequently the card is a good investment, but otherwise she would no longer recommend getting one. 

“I originally would have recommended them last year for some of the amazing free ideas, like free loaded fries at Smoking Apple, but this year I haven’t used mine near as often and I think the overall quality of the deals and card have deteriorated,” Holland said. 

Paul Conrad, manager of the BYU Financial Fitness Center, said generally students should consider if a discount or service will fit into their overall spending plan and help them spend less on things they were going to buy anyway or improve their management of their finances. 

Paul Conrad talks about how students can decide if they should participate in discount programs or services. Conrad thinks that these services can be helpful, but it depends on the student and their individual spending habits. (Annika Ohran)

“I think it’s just a matter of really looking to see if it’s working, if it can work for you in a productive way,” Conrad said.

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