passive income for college students

14 Passive Income Ideas for College Students

This post contains affiliate links. At Returns Rinse Repeat, we want out readers to be financially successful, so any reviews are honest and unbiased. Learn more here.

Making money while trying to get a college degree can be a daunting task. College is expensive enough as is, so having the ability to bring in extra money on the side to help reduce student debt or even just have a little spending money can be crucial to surviving college. Check out some of the ideas below for making passive income for college students like you and start bringing in extra money today.

1. Sell your books or even your study materials

Finished up with your semester and have a bunch of books you’ll never use again? You can check your local student union on pricing, but there are plenty of online platforms that will buy your books back from you like Text Book Rush and Sell Back Your Book. Shop around to find the best price for your expensive textbooks. If you have good study materials or notes, you can check out sites like Study Soup, which pays people money for providing detailed notes on the classes they take. This can be an easy way to make money off of something you are already doing.

2. Advertise with your car

Have a car and wanting to make some extra cash? Displaying ads on your car can be an easy way to bring in passive income using companies like Carvertise, which will pay you to put advertising stickers on your car. Many of these companies will require you to download an app that logs how much you are driving.

3. Rent your car

Depending on your situation, you may not use your car much while at college. If that’s the case, you can look into renting out your car through sites like Getaround, which is a peer-to-peer car-sharing service that lets people rent out their car for cash. This can be an easy way to make money while you are sitting in class.

4. Rent your parking spot

Have a parking space that you are entitled to but don’t use? There are many platforms online like CurbFlip and Spothero, which let you list your parking space online and rake in money for people using it. This can be a great way to bring in extra money with zero work on your part.

5. Rent out a room

Typically, college students are living in dorms or apartments, but if you have an extra room in a house you own, you can rent that room out on a site like AirBNB and bring in some extra cash on the side.

6. Sell photos you take to stock photo companies

Do you love taking photos? You may be able to cash in on that habit by selling your photos as stock photos to online retailers such as Shutterstock, iStock, and 500px Prime. Payouts for these photos are relatively low, but if you love taking pictures this may be an easy way to cash in on that hobby. Even if you are not a camera pro, there are plenty of free YouTube videos online that can teach you how to take interesting photos.

7. Sell older clothes or technology

Have any clothes that are gently used that you never wear? You can sell your clothes on sites like Poshmark and ThredUp, which are online sales platforms that allow you to take pictures of the items you are selling and set the sales price. Once someone purchases the items you mail it to them. It’s all done online and can be an easy way to sell your stuff on the side. If you have older technology (phones, gaming systems, etc) check out DeCluttr which lets you sell your out of date technology.

8. Sign up for cash back programs

Signing up for cash back programs can be one of the easiest ways to make money off of purchases you are already making. Check out sites like Ibotta, which gives you cash back on a variety of purchases like groceries, clothing, pet supplies, and more- both online and in store.

9. Learn how to invest

Investing can be a very easy form of passive income generation. However, you need to research the subject before jumping in. You can read a beginner’s article here. There are active forms of investing like day trading where people buy and sell specific stocks, and there are passive forms like investing in an index fund, which can be a collection of stocks that are representative of the total market. You put money in every month and watch it move with the overall market. You can check out apps like Wealthfront for very easy passive investing.

Learn more about the different types of investing here.

10. Put your money into a High Yield Savings Account

Have money in a traditional savings account that is only giving you 0.01% interest? One of the easiest things you can do to start growing your money is put your savings into a High Yield Savings Account. Typically, these are online banks that offer anywhere from 0.5% to 3% interest on your savings. The only drawback is that when you request to take money from the account it could take up to a day or two to show up in your normal banking account, so put your savings there that you are growing for the future. Check out banks like Ally and Wealthfront.

11. Invest in a REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust)

REIT, or Real Estate Investment Trusts, allows investors to begin investing in real estate without having to buy and manage their own properties. When investing in a REIT, you can invest a certain amount of money into an REIT and profits from the properties are redistributed to investors like dividends from stock market investments. Check out platforms like Fundrise.

Learn more about real estate investing here.

12. Peer-to-Peer Lending

If you already have some money you’re looking to invest, check out peer-to-peer lending (P2P). P2P lending websites, like Peerform and Upstart, connect individuals to investors who are willing to loan money to qualified applicants. You will want to check out all of the different platforms for this, as websites set their rates and terms- so you will want to find one that works best for you. You can check out a starter list here.

13. Sell a course or eBook online

Have a skill that you can market to others? Try writing your own eBook and self-publishing on sites like Amazon. You can also create your own course on a subject, (marathon running, knitting, investing, etc!) and sell that course on platforms like Teachable.

14. Gaming

Do you love playing video games? Some people actually make money off of playing them on platforms like Twitch. Twitch is a video-game viewing platform where viewers can donate money to their favorite players. If you are good at gaming and charismatic, you can build up your followers over time, and have the potential to bring in some serious cash.

Making passive income as a college student?

Whether it be selling older items you no longer use or beginning your investing journey with index funds or real estate, there are plenty of options for college students to make a little extra money on the side.

Related Resources