15+ Things a Student ID Can Be Used For

Illustration of big student ID and a smaller illustration of student entering a gate using
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Many colleges require that students get a student ID card, but then the student is left wondering how they can use their student ID. As an online student who had to get a student ID, I searched for ways I could use my student ID, and it turns out that there are a lot!

Student IDs can be used to get on the school’s portal, register for classes, buy books in the bookstore, prove attendance, get student discounts, increase campus security, use the school’s library and printer, buy food from the cafeteria and vending machines, and open a student checking account.

Let’s go through the whole list of 16 ways you can use your student ID.

Check out my favorite way to carry your student ID: small card slots that stick on the back of your phone that are leatherOpens in a new tab. or siliconeOpens in a new tab.. 

Get on the school portal 

When logging into your school’s portal, you often need to enter either your student ID number or your school email address. 

From the student portal, you can get onto your class’s learning management system (LMS), such as Canvas or Blackboard, see your grades, see your financial information, and pay your tuition and fees.  

If you forget your password for the school portal, you may be required to enter your student ID to reset your password.

Check out all the benefits of Prime StudentOpens in a new tab.. Click hereOpens in a new tab. to sign up for Prime Student.

Register for classes 

You need your student ID number to register for classes.

Giving out academic information

You will be required to give your student ID number anytime you ask for information over email, phone, or in person.

Financial aid information

You will need your student ID number for interactions with the cashier and financial aid offices.

School bookstore

If you get textbooks through the school bookstore, you may be required to show your student ID. 

You will have to show your student ID if you charge your textbooks to your school account so that you can use financial aid to pay for them, have sponsor billing, use the Pell Book Voucher, or pay for them at the same time as your tuition and fees.

Proof of your attendance

Professors can require that you show your student ID before you take a test or for online proctored exams, and some classes require you to go to events where you have to show your student ID to get credit for attending.

Student Discounts

One of the best benefits of having a student ID is that you can use it to get student discounts. 

Many stores, including clothing stores and restaurants, offer student discounts with proof of student ID or your school email address. 

Learn more about how to use your student ID to get discounts on MacBooks and iPads and get 50% off Apple MusicOpens in a new tab..


Many schools use ID cards to increase security, and some buildings require a student ID card to enter.

Library access

Harvard Library Entrance Columns and Steps in a sunny day

Many school libraries require student ID (or at least your ID number) to check out books or use their printers. 

Check out College Libraries 101: Who Can Go and What They HaveOpens in a new tab. to learn more about your school library.

Cafeteria payment

Some cafeterias require students to use student ID to charge the food to their meal plan.

Access to and discounts for school events

While most college events do not require students to show their student ID, there can be some events that do. Additionally, many events offer student discounts, and these require proof of student ID.

Buy snacks from campus vending machines

On many campuses, you can use your student ID card to buy drinks and snacks from campus vending machines.

Open a student checking account

Student checking accounts can offer several benefits, including low or no fees and discounted rates for credit cards. 

If you are opening a student checking account, your student ID or acceptance letter will be required to prove enrollment in a qualified school.


Depending on your state and if your ID has your name and address, you may be able to use your student ID to vote. 

Learn more about when else student ID can be used as ID by checking out our post: Can Student ID Count as ID? Answers to 10+ FAQsOpens in a new tab..

For cosmetology students: Shop at CosmoProf with a student ID 

Students can shop at CosmoProf with a student ID. To shop at CosmoProf, students must have a CosmoProf Student ProClub card. Students enrolled in cosmetology school can get that card by going to a store and proving they are enrolled cosmetology students by showing their student ID.

Learn more from CosmoProfOpens in a new tab.

Used as a memento

Finally, student IDs can be saved as a memento to look back on.

Now you know what student IDs do. Learn more about What is a student ID card?Opens in a new tab. and How to Get a Student ID CardOpens in a new tab..

My favorite products for student IDs

Thank you for reading this article—I hope you found it helpful! Here are some of my favorite products for taking student ID photos and carrying student IDs that I hope you’ll also find helpful.

Ring light for taking student ID photos: Use a ring lightOpens in a new tab. to have your photo well-lit and help make you look good.

Card slots: I think the easiest way to carry your student ID is using card slots that are leatherOpens in a new tab. or siliconeOpens in a new tab.. They stick on the back of your phone so you will always have it with you and won’t lose it.

To see all of my most up-to-date recommendations for tools and products for students, check out this resourceOpens in a new tab. that I made for you!

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