School supplies for college are expensive, so many students find it tricky buying everything they need. Read our guide to how to get free school supplies for college students below. 

Get Free School Supplies for College Students 

Every college student should look for ways to get cheap or free school supplies. It helps you save a lot. You can direct the cash to other uses and emergencies.

There are several organizations, websites, and communities a college student can join to get free supplies. These platforms also allow a student to extend their help to other students.

A research conducted by Wells Fargo states that a college student will require supplies worth #1298 annually. It is a massive burden on struggling families. Any effort towards reducing this burden is much appreciated.

There are several ways to get free supplies for college students.

Below are some that you can utilize to snag those free goodies.

get free school supplies for college students

1) School Library and Computer Lab

When it comes to the best ways to get free school supplies for college students, the library had to be at the top of our list. 

Textbooks and laptops are costly. The apps you need to use for college assignments will cost you some bucks. Utilizing facilities like the school library and computer lab will help a student save a few dollars per year. 

Most libraries offer to check out options for their resources. Instead of spending money to own your books and laptop, you can get free school supplies for college students at the library.

Make sure you go in advance, so you can be sure you’ll be one of the first to pick up the books you need for your semester. Make sure you return it on time to avoid any fines! 

Installing apps and software such as Photoshop, Microsoft Office, Lightroom, and others you need for studies require a significant investment.

You can instead make use of the computer lab, which has all these resources for free. Utilising these two facilities will see you saving several dollars at the end of the year.

Channel the money on other uses such as food, clothes, or paying for a school trip.


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2) Amazon is an online shopping site. You will find nearly everything at factory price. As a way to give back to the community, they offer free goodies to help students in need. created an app called Amazon Kindle. You will be able to view so many books for free on this free app. Do not fret if the textbook is not available for free; Amazon will allow you to rent it at meager prices. The renting period lasts for six months- a time longer than one semester.

Textbooks take the most significant budget percentage on college supplies. You will save several bucks by directly downloading this free app.

Another way to save with Amazon is by signing up for Amazon Prime Student. Here they give you a 6-month trial. You can utilize this trial period to get free music, pictures, videos, and free shipping for two days.

3) Charitable Organizations

There are many charitable organizations dedicated to helping students get ready for school. These organizations collect donations from donors then distribute the same to deserving students. Such organizations include United Way, Chamber of commerce, Family Resource Centers, the Salvation Army, Boys & Girls Club of America Local churches, and many others. Let’s look at the Salvation Army as an example.

Many Salvation Army holds Back to School Events each school opening season. The drive is to help out families get school supplies for their school-going children. The events are sponsor by large companies like Target.

Find out the qualification to receive help and get free school supplies for college students with your local Salvation Army. Also, find out which branches offer support to college students.

There are other stores similar to the Salvation Army that holds back to school events. Keep yourself updated through the local dailies, Facebook groups, and other news channels.

4) Audio Books

One of the best ways to get free school supplies for students is by taking advantage of audio books. 

There are many audiobook apps available. With Audible, you get your first audio book free and earn credits for free audio books along the way.

Many audio book platforms also have a 30-days free trial. During this period, you can download all the audiobooks you will require during the semester! 

5) Free Software

As a college student, you will need a lot of apps to help with your practical assignments. The software can be costly. The good news is, many developers have created free generic software and apps; they work just as well as the paid versions.

Disclaimer*. Beware of scammers and viruses. Some malicious developers create viruses that pose harm to your computer. Find full information about any software before hitting the download button.

get free school supplies for college students


Every college student has access to the Internet. Those who are aggressive enough have come across an online community under the name ‘Freecycle.’

Freecycle has thousands of groups posting free stuff. These groups are available all over the country.

Connect with groups in your location to see what they are offering. You can also post what you no longer need to help another student in need. 

Once you identify a group or groups near you, browse until you find what you need.

Freecycle promotes reusing and recycling. Help the community to achieve this by utilizing their services.

7) Online Groups

The Internet has several platforms where people ‘meet’ to have fun and exchange ideas. However, some kind souls use the platforms for an excellent course. There are several groups under platforms such as Facebook, Google+, Yahoo, and others.

The online communities will send you the school supplies you need by mail. They also give you all the support you need in your early days in college. 

While in the groups, you can offer your help to others who may also need a little help from you. There is satisfaction in giving back to the community that helps you.

Other online freebie websites include,,, etc. Research for more sites where you can get free school supplies for college students, for they are many.

8) Craigslist

In this platform, you will find practically everything you need. The good news is, some stores offer free goodies. Find the free samples under the “For sale” section in the “Free” category. Browse through the section and select the supplies you need. Although you will not get everything there, it will save you some few dollars.

There are advertisements for events and Yard sales under the “community” section. During such occasions, you can get cheap deals and freebies. You can also sell the items you no longer need. Use that money to purchase the school supplies you need.


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9) After Rebate Deals

There are several stores across the country offering after rebate deals on school supplies.

You will find most of these deals through Sunday circulars. Always look out for them to be updated on weekly sales.

Several of these stores offer free school supplies in July and August.

Although this arrangement sounds like a great deal to you, the stores make huge profits during things period. There are a lot of people who forget to send their rebates, do not be one of them. Get your free school supplies and save some bucks.

10) Direct Samples

The manufacturers of school supplies offer free samples to promote their sales. Take advantage of such giveaways and save yourself a few bucks. 

All year through, you will find select stores offering free goodies. Keep yourself updated and grab every available opportunity for free supplies. 

There are seasons that the giveaways are at the peak. Many stores will give out free school supply samples during school opening seasons; others will do so in the middle of a semester just to increase sales.

11) Religious Organizations

Religious organizations are one of the best resources to get free school supplies for college students. As a college student, you can approach any religious organization within your locality and explain your needs.

During school opening seasons, several churches organize events to gather school supplies. After they assess your needs, you will get a few items that will reduce pressure on your annual budget.

12) School Supply Drives from Local Stores

Walmart and target are retail stores that have annual school supply drives. They partner with donors and charitable organizations to get free school supplies for students. The dives usually take place from July through to September.

get free school supplies for college students

You need to register with them upfront so you can get the gift certificate. The stores do this to ensure that only the students who need financial help benefit from the drive.  The document will enable you to pick the school supplies available at the stores.

Is it Possible to Get Free School Supplies for College Students?

Yes. There are several ways in which you can get free supplies for college students. As a student, you need to remain updated on all the events that offer freebies.

When you join college, you will realize that you need to offload some budget off your parent’s shoulders. Signing up to the organizations and online communities that offer free supplies is a way to achieve that.

Along the way, you will realize that you can also offer help to others, regardless of your family’s financial status. Swapping school supplies with other students is one way in which you can provide your support.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our Study Places guide to how to get free school supplies for college students.

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