Classes are in full swing at the University of Massachusetts Boston, and your tuition bill will find its way to your mailbox. College is expensive, but UMass Boston lightens the load by offering students discounts on a lot of school essentials.

The price of textbooks is undoubtedly the most expensive aspect of college — just ask any science major. You can purchase your book full price at the campus bookstore, but a great way to save some money is to rent.

The bookstore allows students to save 50 percent or more off the full price of their books through Rent-a-Text. Simply sign up for a free account at the register, and you will be able to rent books for the remainder of your college career. Books are due the last day of final exams, so you have all the time you need.

A second option is to explore alternative websites, like Amazon and Chegg, where books are usually lower than full price. Another option is checking books out of the Healey Library. You can find them using the catalog on the Healey website or check books out of reserve at the circulation desk of the library for three hours. You can even order books from other schools using WorldCat.

Stopping for a bite to eat at the food court can rob your wallet of over $6. If you calculate the days you are on campus, the amount of money you spend on food can be depressing. UMass Boston offers SoGo cards where you can add money, earn points, and save on the food you buy. Speak with financial aid to see whether you can be covered. Every Wednesdays, the Harbor Market offers everyone complete entrees for $2.99. The price of a meal there is usually $5.49.

Another way you can save money on food is by packing your own meal. There's a microwave in the the dining room to heat your food at anytime. One last trick is to hop on the shuttle from campus to JFK station and walk (less than five minutes) to Shaw’s Supermarket. 

Transportation adds to college expenses too. Most students commute using public transportation or drive into campus. UMass Boston offers students an 11 percent discount on all MBTA passes. The deadline for this semester has passed, but you can apply for the discounted pass for next semester. Stop by Student Activities to fill out an application for a discounted T pass for the entire school semester. 

Parking passes are also offered for all students at $325 for an entire semester or $6 to park at the campus lots each day. Decide which option is right for you by calculating how many days you will be on campus each week.

You can rent free laptops with a state and student ID at the Healey Library's circulation desk or at the Campus Center's welcome desk. Along with free wi-fi, the school's Information Technology Services Division offers discounted computer software to students, such as Microsoft Word and internet security software.

Looking for something fun to do outside of campus? Check Student Activities for discounts on AMC or Showcase movie tickets, tickets to the Aquarium, Museum of Science, theatre shows, and game tickets of your favorite sports teams.

UMass Boston also has a state-of-the-art gym that students can utilize for free with a student ID. They also offer free fitness classes, such as yoga and zumba, and personal training at a low price.

As long as you are a student at UMass Boston, you can rest assured that your money will come back to work for you.

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