Stretching the Student Dollar:SGA Working To Expand Student Discounts

Photo by Graig Graziosi/ The Jambar.

By Graig Graziosi

Photo by Graig Graziosi/ The Jambar.
Photo by Graig Graziosi/ The Jambar.

Starting this fall, students may find their discounts saving them more money — at more businesses — more easily.

Youngstown State University’s Student Government Association has taken steps towards growing and simplifying YSU’s student discounts.

YSU’s student discounts apply to all students and are available at a number of businesses in and around Youngstown.

SGA President Ashley Orr and other SGA members have been working on both expanding the available student discounts as well as creating a means for students to more easily recall where they receive discounts.

This fall, students will have the opportunity to receive a tri-fold wallet card bearing the logos of businesses participating in the YSU student discount program. The card is meant as an aid to help students learn where they are eligible to utilize their discount. The cards will be available at the SGA office and any SGA sponsored events during the year.

There are 17 discounts already available to YSU students, such as a 20 percent savings at the Denny’s on Belmont Avenue and 30 percent savings at Warehouse 50 downtown. A recent outreach from the SGA to area businesses may yield more discounts by the time fall semester begins.

“All the managers I spoke to indicated that they would love to offer a YSU discount,” Orr said. “Panera seemed the most positive and businesses like Barnes and Noble and Target told me they would like to [offer a discount] but have to elevate the letter to their managers and human resources departments.”

Outside of Panera, Target and Barnes and Noble, the SGA has reached out to a variety of other businesses, such as Pressed, Hot Head’s Burritos, the Mahoning Valley Restaurant and Suzie’s Dogs and Drafts.

Student discounts are a common method of partnership between colleges and neighboring businesses. The 18 to 35 year old demographic has been historically targeted by advertisers and businesses as they are believed to be the age group with the most disposable income and the fewest financial obligations, making them the most likely to spend. College students — both traditional and a large percentage of non-traditional — fall squarely into the range, making student discounts a logical route for attracting the demographic.

Paul Reday, associate professor in the Williamson College of Business Administration, explained why discounts play a key role in marketing towards heavy spending demographics.

We all have these perceptual filters — we’re all like the Amish horses with blinders on. We don’t see what goes on around us very well unless we’re already interested. But if you get a discount, all of a sudden your eyes are opened to whatever that is … discounts make us feel like we’re getting a killer deal even if we’re only saving a few bucks while it gives the company a chance to say ‘hey, ignore that guy, buy my thing,’” Reday said.

The SGA highlighted the benefit of this relationship in a letter sent to local businesses soliciting their participation in the discount program.

“As you know, student debt is a large burden facing students all across the nation. In Ohio the average student loan balance for graduating seniors is nearly 30,000 dollars. While YSU offers affordable tuition, we here at SGA would like to further reduce the financial burden weighing on students. A discount, even of small magnitude, will reduce YSU students’ cost of living in our valley.”

“We encourage you to consider creating a student discount for YSU students to utilize. If you would be so willing to work with SGA on this initiative, we would like to offer you an advertising opportunity. Our SGA has several social media outlets, a website, and the representation of over 12,000 students. We would like to feature your business in our YSU Student Friendly Business Spotlight on the web, through our representatives, and on our social media outlets,” the letter reads.
Those businesses interested in partnering with YSU will have until July 15 to be included on the discount cards. Businesses interested in offering a discount after July 17 will be featured in social media promotions by the SGA. All discounts available to students by the start of the fall semester will be featured in The Jambar’s first fall semester issue.