Passive Income Opportunities for College Students

It can be difficult to make a consistent flow of income while in college. Not only do you need to worry about your education workload, but you need to worry about your job workload as well. Having to juggle school and a full-time job may be too much. That is why it may benefit to look into forms of passive income if you are taking college classes.

What is Passive Income?

Passive Income is a type of income that comes from a source where the recipient is not directly involved. People can earn passive income in a variety of ways. The way that passive income is handled by the IRS varies by individual and income source.

There are aspects that are important to keep in mind when considering passive income. This is not a form of free money. Even though a person may not be directly involved in making the income, there is still work involved. This is a type of income that can be continued to be earned after the initial first steps. Think of it like gardening! You do the work at first then wait for your plant to grow. It is a similar concept.

These types of incomes are a great option for people with lives that make it difficult for a full time job like college students.

Passive incomes may not be able to be a full-time source of income. Instead, people often view these positions as side gigs that they can do when there is free time.

Popular Passive Income Ideas

Passive income can come in multiple forms. Some of the most common forms of passive income include real estate and stocks. These forms can be a major investment at first but end up being beneficial over time.

For example, when dealing with real estate, you will have a lot of upfront costs. You have to purchase the building, and deal with maintenance costs. However, over time as you have tenants living in your building, you can earn a passive income.

That is the same idea if you were to have stocks be your source of passive income. You may need a bulk investment upfront for roughly $500 and that money can grow over time. You don’t even have to do anything, you can just get money after you invest your initial funds.

However, these common sources of passive income require some pretty hefty initial costs. That is why passive income for college students may need to look a little different.

Passive Income for College Students

College students are already dealing with a lot. If you are a college student, why should you consider a passive income?

Well the simple answer is easy; it doesn’t hurt to have extra money. This form of extra income can come in handy whether it is used to build your savings cushion, to spend on personal expenses, etc. However, oftentimes, college students opt to use their passive income towards handling debt.

On average in 2019, students graduated with roughly $29,000 of debt to their name. Instead of dealing with those financial burdens later down the line, you can be proactive in dealing with them.

To top it all off, regardless of how the extra money will benefit your life, it is passive income. This income doesn’t require substantial energy so while you are studying, or enjoying life, you could be making money.

What Can College Students Do to Make Extra Money?

There are many ways you can make passive income. However, there are six super easy methods that college students may find easier than others. Not every idea will be applicable to every college student. For example, if one form of passive income requires a car. This may not be a good option for you If you don’t have a vehicle.

Ways for College Students to Make Passive Income

Some possible options that college students can consider when making a passive income include:

Option 1: Consider Affiliate marketing

Do you like social media or blogging? Then affiliate marketing may be a good option for you. If you want to share your talents with the world, you may be able to use them as an opportunity to get paid.

Affiliate marketing is a form of marketing that is setup where an online retailer will pay commission to an external website. They pay for either traffic or sales that are generated from the source (also known as a lead). Companies want to promote their product or service through platforms. They will pay you to connect those leads or that traffic for a fee.

It may sound complicated but luckily it is very simple! Every affiliate marketing setup is different but there are some general guidelines that you can consider. For example, you can pick a product from an affiliate network. There are a bunch of affiliate networks but Amazon is a popular choice.

From there, you will get a specialized link that you can strategically place. Placing this link on your site/blog/Youtube can help you get your link viewed by a lot of people. You want to show this link to people that would be interested in the product you chose. The more people that use your link, the more commission you will get, the better the passive income!

Blogs for Affiliate Marketing

Blogs are a popular platform that people in affiliate marketing use. The reason that they are popular is because it is easy to specialize. Blogs can be about any niche like home improvement, fitness, food, etc. When a blog is already specialized, that means people on there will likely be on the lookout for products associated with the blog niche.

However, there are many blogs and a lot of competition. So how can you compete? First and foremost, you want to make sure you make your blog stand out.

For example, if you like cooking, then make it more specific. If your speciality is cooking with latin american flavors then say that! From there show how you stand apart from others with knowledge, experience, and more. If your website features more authentic ingredients, you may be able to increase your flow of traffic to your blog.

It is also important to self-promote. It may be somewhat embarrassing at first, but it shouldn’t be! Posting on social media, talking to friends, talking to family, and just spreading the word should be encouraged. You need to have enough viewers in order to make the blog worthwhile.

Youtube for Affiliate Marketing

If you find a way to become profitable on Youtube, you could be a millionaire! While not everyone has that success from just Youtube content, it is possible.

Just like a blog setup, you want to specialize your channel. Popular choices for Youtube channels include gaming, makeup, skincare, product reviews, comedy sketches, artwork, and more. Once you find your general area of expertise, you should dive in more from there.

Even if you don’t find success, it doesn’t hurt to try! However, since this would be considered a form of passive income it is important to not treat this as a full time job. It is easy to spend hours on filming, editing, brainstorming, and more.

Influencers and Affiliate Marketing

Influencers are another popular option when it comes to dealing with social media and affiliate marketing.

An influencer is literally an individual that influences others. This type of influence can come from social media platforms like Instagram and Tiktok. For example, Tiktok has somewhat revolutionized the music industry. It is easy for musicians to become viral and reach a wide audience.

This ability to reach a wide audience is great because the same concept can apply for affiliate links. When people click these links or use them for their intended purpose, you can get money!

Option 2: Rent Out Your Car

A lot of times college students don’t use their car as often as they may expect. Sometimes, students may only use them to get to school and then not much else from there. If that’s the case, you may want to consider renting your car!

Renting out your car can be an easy way to earn an extra source of income while you’re in school, sleeping, or simply just not using your car. In the age of ever-advancing technology, there are apps that make this process easier.

Similar to other driving apps there is a screening process involved. Those that want to rent your car have to be screened in order to be considered eligible to rent. They will also be required to have insurance if they want to apply.

Depending on your availability, you may be able to get paid an extra few hundred bucks a month. There are pros and cons to renting your car out.

Advantages of Renting Your Car

There are some surprising advantages of renting out your car. You can save money on gas, and improve your physical health. Increased walking has been shown to improve mental health as well. So renting your car could improve your income, and overall well being. However, there are disadvantages as well.

Disadvantages of Renting Your Car

Just as there are benefits, there are drawbacks as well. It can be stressful having a stranger rent out your car. Sometimes, accidents happen. Dealing with that process could potentially be a hassle. It can also be inconvenient to not have your car readily available if you need it. In case of emergency, you may need to drive somewhere while someone is renting it. That leaves you in a tough spot.


Renting out your car as a way to earn passive income may be a good fit for you. However, you should keep in consideration the benefits and the disadvantages associated with this option. Make sure not to rush into this if you have not fully researched what it entails!

Option 3: Sell Extra Books/School Supplies

As a college student, you are constantly dealing with books. Whether it be a textbook or just a normal book, you may be able to sell them.

When you complete a class, what do you do with the materials you got? Instead of letting it collect dust in your closet, you can choose to sell them! There are many different platforms that can provide the option to sell old textbooks. Physical store locations like Half-Priced Books is a good option. This store will pay cash or store credit for a variety of books, comics, and more.

There are also online options that you can consider when trying to sell your extra books. You can use Craigslist or Facebook marketplace to try and sell off any items that you may not want.

A good rule of thumb is the better the condition of the book, then the better the chances you have of getting a higher price. If the book is damaged, missing pages, or just in overall rough shape, you will likely get less money.

Not only can you sell your extra books, but you can also sell any other extra school materials. Oftentimes people only use specific materials just for school purposes like notebooks, pencils, etc. If you find that you have any of these things leftover you can choose to sell them! Similar to how you would with books you can use online marketplaces to sell anything you don’t want. Heck, people may even pay you for good notes you took for a specific class!

You Can Also Rent Out Books

If you have extra textbooks lying around, you don’t necessarily need to sell them. Instead, try renting them. There are platforms that you can use that can rent out your books. Instead of selling them for a one-time cash value, you can continue to rent them to get more money.

Option 4: Use Your Photography Skills to Sell Stock Images

You don’t need to be a professional photographer to get into the field. However, if you are talented enough you may be able to sell your stock photos to some big sites.

The submission process is different depending on where you choose to sell your images. However, you could potentially sell to some big name companies like iStock Images, Adobe Stock, etc.

Typically submissions need to meet eligibility criteria in order to be considered. If your images are bought by these sites you will receive a portion of the profit from your image. Even if this isn’t enough money to sustain your bills, it is a great source of passive income. After you submit your images, you just get money whenever your image generates a profit!

Option 5: Take Advantage of Your Parking

If you have a parking spot, you can use it for more than just parking. It can be a great passive income for college students. In areas where parking can be challenging, people can become desperate to find available spots.

There are apps that you can use in order to rent out your space like Just Park. These apps can provide renters the option to park in spots for up to a month. However, if you choose this option you will need to figure out where you will park your own car.

Option 6: Consider Spare Change Investment Apps

When people think of investing, they may think of large sums of cash involved. However, that doesn’t need to be the case. There are plenty of options available that provide investing opportunities for just a small amount of funds.

There are apps that can round up your change to the nearest dollar. The change from that round up can be used for an investment account. When you use these apps, you just continue to live your life as normal.

Benefits to These Apps

This is one of the easier passive income ideas that you could pursue because it doesn’t require much attention. In fact there are some nice advantages that come along with this way to earn passive income.

Some benefits are the fact that these apps are easy to navigate, require a small minimum deposit, and don’t typically have high fees associated with the account. While all of these are nice, there are drawbacks to be aware of as well.

Drawbacks to These Apps

Some disadvantages of this passive income opportunity include high fees for specific accounts, limited account options, and investing minimums. You can run into some issues if you do not properly manage how you use these app options.

Best Passive Income for College Students?

There are so many passive income ideas that it can be difficult to decide a “best overall”. You need to look at your lifestyle and find an option that fits within your schedule. What may be best for you as a college student may not be good for another.

Want to Become a Digital Nomad?

College is a time where people are still figuring themselves out. In an age of a pandemic, and advanced technology, there are more options than ever for income. Social media platforms also highlight different lifestyles that people may want to try. One of these lifestyles is a digital nomad.

A digital nomad can be in many forms. However, it is typically someone that earns their income online while independently traveling constantly. Digital nomads can potentially see themselves making six figure salaries. It is actually easier to become a digital nomad than you may realize.

You will want to reorganize your budget in order to figure out your starting point. What will you be working with? From there you can start getting your plan together. What is your skillset? Where will you be working? What will your flow of income look like? Understanding these aspects will also help you create and maintain  your plan.

Overall a digital nomad lifestyle may not be for everyone. However, as you are considering sources of income during this time in your life, it is something that you may like. Before making this lifestyle change it is important that you understand the longevity of it. You may not want to stick to this lifestyle forever. Even if that’s the case, it can be a great way to experience a different way of living!

One in five digital nomads make more than $100K per year working remotely

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