Parents: Before you buy, look out for academic discounts

Parents, take note. Academic discounts only apply to college kids: their college or university email address could be the key.

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College kids and those who attend university are often laden with the burden of hefty student debts and financial crises; often because of their mismanagement of their budgets and overdrafts.

But parents: I offer you one warning. Don't buy your college kid anything from Microsoft, Apple, or any company that offer student discounts. Get your student son or daughter to buy it themselves!

Academic discount can be huge in some cases. I've already examined the deals that both Microsoft and Apple provide to students at college and university. It can be far cheaper for you, the parent, but also work out better for your student kid to buy through the students' account, email address or from their college dorm.

Microsoft Ultimate Steal (UK/US/Canada)

Designed for students only, you are required to have a valid .ac.* or .edu email address, signifying you are a student or academic at a UK university. You can buy Office Professional Academic for £49.99 or $99.95.

You can also get Office for Mac Academic at the same price. Windows 7 Professional upgrades are available for £70.99 and $29.99.

Remember, DreamSpark is available for student developers, which offers a range of free software for students wishing to develop with. A university email address is required, still.

Apple Education Store (Worldwide)

While the Apple Education Store, a separate entity designed for college and university students, academics and other educational institutions, offers cheaper products for a large number of products, not everything is.

The Mac range, from MacBook Air's to iMac's, are cheaper, in some cases by several hundred dollars.

However, the biggest hindrance is that you must be connected to your college or university network (or via VPN) to access the discounted rates. This means students must realistically have already started college or university to get access to these deals.

Other academic discounts

It is not uncommon for many retailers and organisations to give student discounts, which can significantly reduce the price of products.

The most usual way of authentication is through a college or university email address -- so always shop around and see if you can find the best deals.

Your college or university email is their identity while they are there, so make sure you use it, and not your Hotmail or Gmail.

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