CollegeBudget offers deals for college students

Submitted photo.

Submitted photo.

Kelli Fitzpatrick

Mike Moradian founded CollegeBudget last year as an extension of his site He created CampusBuddy while an economics student at the University of California, Los Angeles in 2008. His first site includes grade data for more than 6,000 colleges.

Moradian said he created CampusBuddy to make universities’ grading systems “more transparent,” but realized students faced a different problem.

“It became clear to me that the bigger issue is not so much grades but being able to afford college, so we shifted to CollegeBudget,” Moradian said. “We decided we wanted to focus on students’ shopping and finances to help them save money.”

How It Works

San Francisco-based CollegeBudget offers 50 to 90 percent off deals to its members. Students can sign up for the site with their email address.

CollegeBudget’s team “relentlessly knocks on the doors of companies and negotiate a deal with them,” Moradian said. “It has to be big enough to attract students, so we really want to aim for half-off deals.”

When talking with companies, Moradian said his access to college students is “one of the big selling points.”

“We get the deals from the company and we work on making them fun and exciting and attractive to students,” Moradian said. “Then we publish them to the students to help them save money and help the company reach the student market.”

Sophomore education major Adri Montes recently paid $50 for $100 in American Apparel certificates through CollegeBudget.

“It worked out perfectly,” Montes said. “It was a great deal.”

CollegeBudget makes a “small piece of the purchase made” with its partner companies, Moradian said.

“We’re not so much profit-motivated,” he said. “We make money as we help make the companies money, while helping the students save money.”

Moradian said students can earn $5 in CollegeBudget credit by referring friends to purchase a deal.

Mackenzie Wallace, sophomore fashion merchandising and news major, has viewed CollegeBudget’s deals but has never purchased one. Wallace said she would likely purchase a CollegeBudget deal for department stores like Macy’s.

The offers are “a little bit of everything that apply to everything,” Wallace said. But she has yet to use a deal because “I’m a poor college student. I click on them but I’ve never gone through with it.”

Montes said she would likely use CollegeBudget again in the future.

“It depends on what they’re offering, but from the deals they have I assume I would,” she said. “You don’t really find those deals with companies like that (elsewhere).”

Current CollegeBudget deals

$25 for $50 American Apparel gift certificates; in-store or online

$7 for $25 worth of textbook rentals at

$10 for $100 online foreign language course at

Extra Perks

CollegeBudget has other online tools for students looking to save money.

Students can apply for scholarships through the site. Moradian said the most recent was a $1,000 textbook scholarship “sweepstakes” awarded through CollegeBudget’s Facebook.

Montes said she applied to two scholarships after using the site’s search.

“The website is … really user-friendly,” she said.

Student members can also access CollegeBudget’s student loan comparison tool.

“It lets students … shop around and really make the best decision for themselves,” Moradian said. “You can compare and contrast … by payback length (and) interest rate and find the one that fits you the best.”

Students can apply for the CollegeBudget Champion program online. A Champion promotes the site to friends, acting as a campus representative. Moradian said a Champion can earn free CollegeBudget “swag” and a resume-building experience.

Champions “can get the leadership experience, to lead the organization at your college and learn how to market,” Moradian said. “It’s definitely (an experience) to put on a resume.”

Future of CollegeBudget

Moradian said he hopes to offer college internships by this summer. Students interested in a CollegeBudget internship can begin by applying for the Champions program.

“We’ll be looking to make some hires or internships out of that program,” he said. “(But) it’s in the early stages still.”

Moradian said interns wouldn’t have to move to San Francisco for the internship, and could work with the company online. He said CollegeBudget is keeping a “focus on the mobile stage,” to let students access savings on their phones.

Moradian said he is working on more company partnerships.

“It’s just a matter of perseverance” when striking deals with companies. “The more success we’re having, the more it’s opening up doors.”

Contact Kelli Fitzpatrick at [email protected].