The Best Gift Cards for College Students

Finding the perfect gift for a college student can be difficult. Whether they're your own child who’s been off for a couple years, or a family friend who’s going off to school this fall and you need to find them a gift for their graduation party, it's almost impossible to know what to buy for them. And as great as physical gifts can be, it can be really hard to know exactly what to get a college student. 

How do you even know what they are or aren’t allowed to have in their dorm room? And even if they’re allowed to have it, will there be room in their dorm for your gift? Or are they just going to be forced to leave it at home and not even get to enjoy it. Most college students won’t even really know what they need themselves until they are off to school and get their syllabi and see their room. But not to worry, today I have a list of gift cards that are perfect for any college student that you’ll know they’ll actually use.

Earn Cash Back On Gift Cards for College Students with Gift Card Granny

The great thing about a gift card is that you never have to worry the student won’t be allowed to have it, or have room for it in their room. A gift card is small and easy to transport. So mom & dad will definitely appreciate having to pack a gift card, instead of having to pack a heavy microwave or printer. And I went out of my way to find gift cards that a college student is going to use. Ones that will help them achieve in their studies and stay on top of their game.

As a quick reminder, we’ve pointed out all of the retailers on this list that you can find on Gift Card Granny as of this writing. Gift Card Granny makes it easy to buy and send customized gift cards online and earn cash back while you do. Gift Card Granny carries thousands of local and national brands including Visa gift cards, Mastercard gift cards, and gift cards for many of the awesome spots on this list.

Now that we’re on the same page, let’s jump right into our list! 

1. Barnes & Noble

Get access to any book you could ever need

Buy a Barnes & Noble gift card

Pretty much every major offered by a college will require reading of some kind. Books are an integral part of education and convey an array of important subjects in conjunction with lectures from professors and TAs. Since buying books is inevitable for any college student, get them ahead of the game with a Barnes & Noble gift card. 

This national bookstore chain sells thousands of book titles across a range of different genres, including anything a college student would need for their class. They have textbooks for lots of subjects, an array of classic literature titles, thrilling novels for young adults, children’s books, and more. You can even find plenty of board games, toys, and pop culture merchandise at your local Barnes & Noble location!

Visit Gift Card Granny today and earn cash back on a Barnes & Noble gift card!

2. Amazon Gift Card 

A gift card to Amazon will always come in handy 


A majority of college students start off the school year without fully comprehending what they are about to face. It’s hard to know what to expect in such a new environment and, as a result, many students are left to gather up what they need after the semester has already started. Good thing there’s Amazon gift cards, which are bound to come in handy. 

The great thing about Amazon is you can get just about anything you can imagine, and you can even get it the very next day in many scenarios. This will be an invaluable tool for the college student you are shopping for. No nineteen year old seems to be able to think more than 24 hours in advance. So when your student forgets to buy a necessity until the very last minute, you can be sure that they will be covered if you get them an Amazon gift card. Anything they might need or want is just a few clicks away and this can really be a lifesaver during tough finals weeks or when you first move into your dorm or apartment for the year. 

Unfortunately, you can’t find Amazon gift cards on Gift Card Granny at this time; check back in the future for updates to our list of available retailers!

3. Rue21

Modern fashion that college students can get behind

Buy a Rue21 gift card

College students tend to be a fashionable sort, at least that sentiment rings true for the ones who can bother to get dressed for class in the mornings. While not all students have access to the same designer brands as their more affluent peers, affordable fashion retailers like Rue21 provide apparel that is equally as stylish as any fit on the market. 

Rue21 offers fresh fashion choices that appeal to young adults, particularly those in the late high school to college student demographic. Young men and women can experience trendy, hip designs for a variety of clothing, from denim jeans and skirts to dresses and graphic tees. Rue21 also stocks beauty products, body lotions, jewelry, outfit accessories, and footwear. 

Does this retailer sound right for any college student you know? Snag a Rue21 gift card from Gift Card Granny and start earning cash back in no time! 

4. A Coffee Shop Close to Campus

Staying alert is way more easy when you have coffee

There are plenty of ways to get caffeinated nowadays, and most college students are fortunate enough to have a coffee shop or two within walking distance. Whether it’s part of a national chain or a local business will depend on the area, but it’s worth checking to see if a location near your school can be found on GiftYa!

Since college students prefer convenience, sending a digital gift with GiftYa is definitely the way to go. With as little as a text message, you can send any student funds for their favorite locations to get coffee while at school. Whether it is in between classes or to keep them up long enough to cram for the next day’s exam, GiftYa provides you with tons of options to stay caffeinated all day long. 

Consider sending a GiftYa gift card to any college student you know!

5. Starbucks

Every college student can always use some emergency caffeine

Everybody when they go to school thinks at first that they are going to be a diligent and hardworking student and really stay on top of the game. I mean, they are paying all that money aren’t they? But you and I both know that in the real world, college students aren’t known for their ability to adeptly manage their schedule. And this means that at some point or another, the college student in your life is going to be running behind or being overworked, and they are going to need a little pick me up. And study drugs are problematically common on college campuses. So make sure your student has a safe and healthy alternative.

This is where a Starbucks gift card comes into play. There is a Starbucks on or near every college university I have ever been to. As a matter of fact, there was a Starbucks right in the library at my university. And this makes sense, Starbucks knows that college students are big coffee drinkers so they have gone out of their way to open stores on and around college campuses. And this means that more likely than not, the college student you are shopping for is going to have easy access to coffee when they’re in a crunch. And you can make sure that they’re covered for enough coffee to make it through midterms this semester with a Starbucks gift card! 

You can’t get a gift card to Starbucks from Gift Card Granny at the moment, but be sure to check back soon as new gift cards for college students are added all the time!

6. Uber

At some point your college student is gonna be running late and need to catch a ride

Buy an Uber gift card

There’s a lot of pressure on college students to make sure they are attending all of their classes. In fact, in most of my undergraduate studies, if a student missed more than three classes, they would lose a letter grade for every additional day that was missed. So not only is making it to class important to make sure you are following along, it can also seriously and substantially negatively impact a student's grade.

You can help your student avoid all this hassle and fuss by getting them a gift card for Uber. While your student will probably have bus routes and bike routes on campus, there is going to be a time where they are running late and need to get a ride straight to class right away. And when this scenario inevitably arises, they will certainly be thanking you when the Uber gift card you got them helps them make it to class on time on an important test or presentation day.

Check out Gift Card Granny to earn cash back on an Uber gift card today!

7. Staples

Get all the class supplies you need at this office retailer

Buy a Staples gift card

Like any school student, those attending college need essential supplies in order to succeed in class. Failure to be prepared will only result in academic struggles, which is why it’s important to arm college students with all the gear they need to be successful. To do exactly that, why not choose a gift card to Staples?

Staples stocks all kinds of general office and classroom supplies that both students and professionals can succeed with. From contemporary technology like laptops and scanners to paper products such as notebooks, graph paper, stationery, post-it notes, and journals. College classes require a lot of note taking, and no matter how your college student prefers to document their class lectures, they should have all the tools they need.

Earn cash back when you buy a Staples gift card from Gift Card Granny!

8. Best Buy

21st century classrooms are getting more technologically advanced all the time

When the student you know makes it to college there are going to be all kinds of unforeseen expenses. This includes everything from books and folders, to laptops and headphones. That’s right, even after you pay tens of thousands of dollars for tuition, and hundreds more on books, the university is still going to expect the student to buy more required items for class.

I had to buy everything from a $180 calculator to an $80 clicker that would let me wirelessly submit my answer on class-wide questions. So trust me when I say, your student is going to come across a tech issue at some point during their studies. But if you get them a Best Buy gift card they’ll be covered for everything from headphones and calculators, to cell phones and laptops. 

Your student will definitely thank you for this gift card. Afterall, what kind of young person today doesn’t love to get more expensive and flashy gadgets and toys?

Right now you aren’t able to get a gift card to Best Buy with Gift Card Granny, but check back soon because we add new gift cards all of the time!

9. Grubhub

Order food how you want it, exactly when you want it

Buy a Grubhub gift card

Whether it’s because of staying up all night studying for an exam or during a hangout with some buds, ordering food is a quintessential part of being a college student. The dining hall isn’t always going to be available, and every student deserves a break from the same food after a while. 

Grubhub finds restaurants close to your location from a variety of local businesses and franchise stores. Order the cuisine you crave at any time that works for you and Grubhub will absolutely deliver quality service in no time at all. 

Pick up a Grubhub gift card from Gift Card Granny and earn cash back!

10. DoorDash

So much to choose from, you’ll have a hard time deciding

Buy a DoorDash gift card

When it comes to meal delivery services, a college student certainly will not go wrong when they use DoorDash. This San-Francisco-based online food ordering company provides users with access to delivery and takeout from the best local restaurants, fast food joints, and even convenience stores!

Whether you are craving that flavorful menu item from a renowned diner in your time or need a classic fast food meal on your doorstep stat, DoorDash is packed with a variety of awesome restaurants and food chains to make those hunger pains go away. For college students, it’s an asset that comes in handy while tackling busy schedules. 

Don’t wait – pick up a DoorDash gift card from Gift Card Granny and earn cash back ASAP!

11. UberEats

Keep them full and fed with this gift card

Buy an Uber Eats gift card

Your college student is either going to have an obnoxiously overpriced food plan, that still won’t cover every meal they need, or they are going to need to do their own shopping and cooking. And while there are plenty of young adults who are capable of shopping for themselves and cooking, there are also lots of college students out there who have no idea how to prepare a meal for themselves.

And if you’re worried this might be the case for the college student in your life, you can side-step the entire issue by getting them a gift card to Uber Eats if it is available in their area. Whether they just had a long day of studying and are too tired to cook, or they haven’t had time to go grocery shopping, your gift card is going to turn a rough day into an awesome day for them. 

Get a gift card to Uber Eats and enjoy one of the best gift cards for college students by following the link!

12. Tidal

Help them stay connected to their favorite music artists

Buy a Tidal gift card

For college students, staying entertained is almost as critical as studying. Boredom can grow easily when you’re away at college and far from home, but access to high-quality tunes can help squash any weariness that’s been building up from your newfound isolation. 

Tidal is a music streaming service centered on artists and the fans who support them. There are currently over one hundred million songs available to listen to with HiFi sound quality on Tidal, and even more endless hours of original content, exclusive livestreams, and events. It’s sure to keep the restless college student entertained in their downtime.

Grab a Tidal gift card from Gift Card Granny and earn cash back!

13. Spotify

Help compose the soundtrack to the best memories of their lives

Is there anybody who loves, or is more pretentious about, music than college students? I mean there are whole genres and radio stations dedicated to popular college music. However, that was probably really cool back in the 1980s. In today's day and age, everybody is streaming their music right on their phone. And why wouldn’t we? When you already carry your phone around with you everyday, access to a music streaming service like Spotify gives you unlimited access to seemingly endless choices of music.

So if you aren’t sure what to get the college student you are shopping for, you can be sure that a Spotify gift card will be something they’ll absolutely use. If you don’t get them the gift card, they’re just gonna end up paying for Spotify out of their own pocket or their graduation money anyways.


Well there you go. That is a list of gift cards that I am sure any college student you might know are definitely going to use. And really that’s what you want to get them when you get them a gift isn’t it? Something they’ll use. You can be sure that any of the gift cards on this list will make a difficult day for your college student better in a substantial way. Whether it’s helping them get to class, or having their ass covered when they get slapped with required classroom electronics. 

And remember, I provided links anytime one of these companies accepts Gift Card Granny Gift cards. But you can follow the link to see every type of gift card offered through Gift Card Granny, even ones that aren’t specifically for college students.