10 Best Passive Income Ideas for College Students

Passive income ideas for college students

Quick note – This post contains affiliate links that help keep this blog running.

If you’re a college student, consider some ways to make passive income to make your life easier – a passive income stream can cover your everyday expenses, tuition/books, and increase your wealth in the future.

Let’s face it, college isn’t cheap these days.

college tuition fees - good reason to start a passive income in college

Aside from the tuition, many other expenses come your way when attending college.

When I was in college, I had some usual questions and excuses that many college students face when looking to start a passive income – Where do I start? or I don’t have time.

With a passive income stream, you’ll work less for the money and have more time to spend on extracurriculars, finding internships, and experience the local places around your college.

Passive income can also help you after college with paying off student loans, fund your vacations, and getting a savings account started. There are many ways for college students to start passive income streams coming in. Let’s explore some of the best ones!

So What Are the Best PASSIVE INCOME Ideas for College Students?

1. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is simply promoting someone else’s products (or services) and you get a commission each time a sale occurs through your link.

It’s a very flexible form of making money – you can start a blog and recommend products to your readers, or do it through your emails to subscribers, or even through a sponsored post.

You can start affiliate marketing by simply joining an affiliate program, such as ConvertKit. They’ll pay you $700 a month for sending just 80 customers their way. There are many other affiliate programs you can join – a quick Google search will show you the many options out there.

Another option is asking companies to partner with you to get a unique referral link (which your readers can click on in your articles).

Sometimes companies will reach out to you! Keep an eye out for opportunities – since mostly every company wants to increase their sales, it’s a vast ocean of opportunities.

It doesn’t just have to be through your blog, you can promote products on other social media platforms as well. Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube – you can let your audience know about the products you’re promoting through these platforms and make a great passive income stream.

2. Start a Blog

Blogging is a great way to make passive income while you’re in college.

And the best part about it is that you can blog about anything you like!

Once you have some decent traffic going, you can monetize your blog through ads on your blog or affiliate marketing.

Affiliate marketing consists of working with brands/companies to promote their products or services.

Every time your readers click the link you provided and buy the promoted product, you receive a commission on that sale.

The commission amount depends on who you’re working with, but even small amounts ($3-$5) can add up to a sizable income if you’re getting 100 people clicking and buying through your blog.

Here’s everything you need to get started:

  • Get a Domain name – think of a unique name for your blog name – You can use the search form below to see if the domain name is available – 

Find a domain starting at $0.88

powered by Namecheap

The total costs to set up a blog using the above varies from $80 to more, depending on your domain. You can use a free theme to get started and save money.

Once you have these set up and your site is online, you can start customizing your blog with your preferred WordPress theme.

Then, start creating amazing content for your readers and provide them with valuable information so they keep coming to your blog.

Learn basic SEO (search engine optimization) skills. You’ll want to set up your blog and posts in an SEO-friendly way so they show up on search results and bring you more traffic.
Make your blog look good, in appearance and structure.

Readers are more likely to stay on your blog if it’s visibly appealing and can navigate through your site without much trouble.

3. Start an eCommerce Store

Ecommerce is another great source of passive income – all you need is a laptop with an internet connection!

You can either create your own products or dropship products from online wholesalers to your customers.

Creating an eCommerce store is very easy these days:

  • You can easily sign up on Shopify and they’ll set you up with an online store with everything, including payments, shipping information, and the theme of your choice.
  • You can customize your store to fit your products and fill your catalog.
  • You can also use WordPress to set up an online shop. Simply set up a blog type of website and add an online store plugin, such as WooCommerce. WooCommerce is very user-friendly and has great customer support.

Related: 5 Legitimate Companies That Pay You to Advertise on Your Car

Helpful Tip! 

Use social media to promote your online shop – Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest. No one will know your shop exists unless you get out there and let people know!

4. Make YouTube Videos

Making YouTube videos has become an income creating source for quite a while now.

Millions around the world are making content there for all possible niches. From gaming to gardening to teaching marketing.

Find a topic you love and entertain people with your ideas or you can make people laugh if that’s your thing!

Once you have an audience, you can join the YouTube Partner Program and make money by displaying ads on your videos.

Alternatively, you can do product sponsorships for companies. Companies will pay you to promote their products to your audience.

Every time someone buys that product through the link you provide, you’ll make a commission on top of what the company already paid you to promote it.

5. Audiobooks

It’s no secret that audiobooks have been on the rise for a few years now.

If you love to read books, you can make a good passive income stream by recording your voice to read books. You can offer your services on Fiverr and get clients fairly quickly.

Try to find book niches that don’t have too many audiobooks available already. This way you’ll be able to tap into that specific niche much better and make more money.

If you check Amazon Books and search for a topic or book and you see more than 10,000 results, that means it’s a very competitive niche since they most likely already have enough audiobooks for them.

Find niches with fewer results and see where you can find opportunities.

6. Online Tutoring

Online tutoring is another flexible option to making money. You can do it in many different ways:

  • YouTube – create videos teaching people and monetize your channel to earn money through ads.
  • Udemycreate a course and sell it. The more people that buy your course, the more money you’ll make.
  • Fiverryou can offer your tutoring services on Fiverr to get clients and teach them a subject via Skype/Zoom.
  • Local – you can offer your tutoring services to other students in your college by putting up fliers or put an ad in the local paper to reach people outside college.

One of the best things about online tutoring is that you can provide it for all levels: K-12 and college.

If you have a subject you’re very strong in, you can teach it to other students in your college and make a consistent income stream.

7. Social Media Marketing/Manager

If you spend a lot of time on social media, you can turn your interest into a passive income.

You can manage social media accounts for people or businesses who don’t have the expertise/know-how or the time to do it themselves.

This is where you come in – offer your knowledge of social media and manage their accounts and make money doing it.

Most large organizations have a social media manager on board or even an entire team dedicated to it.

But a lot of smaller companies don’t have the resources for a full social media team or even know how to. You can fulfill their needs by offering your service to manage their social media accounts.

You can also go to your local businesses and talk to them about the benefits of social media and how it can help grow their business – with enough businesses, you’ll have a portfolio of clients to work with and make a sizable passive income.

You can use Upwork or Fiverr to start offering your service and get clients. 

8. Pet Sitting

If you love pets, pet sitting might be the thing for you!

Rover is a great app that lets you connect with people in your area who need someone to watch their dogs, cats, or other pets. 

With Rover, you have a lot of flexibility. You can set your own schedule, the type and size of pets you’d like to take care of, and where. You can find time between classes to walk pets or do quick drop-ins.  

It’s like having your own pet sitting business!

Download and sign up with Rover today to start earning some money doing what you love. 

9. Rent Out Your Car

If you have a car but don’t use it too much, try renting it to others to get extra cash in your pockets. 

You can use apps like Getaround, Turo, or Hyrcar to rent your car to others and make money. 

Renting your car can net you upwards of $800 a month. It’s better for the environment as well, since renting your car means fewer cars on the road.

According to Getaround, sharing your car takes about 10 cars off the road!

Renting your car is a great way to make some cash on the side while you live the college life.

Related: 5 Legitimate Companies That Pay You to Advertise on Your Car

10. Invest Your Money

It’s no secret that the sooner you start investing your money, the more time it will have to grow.

Being in college is a perfect time to start investing and letting your money grow for a better future. It’s become easy to start investing these days. 

There are different ways to invest your money:

Index Funds (Mutual funds or ETFs): invest in the S&P500 index which has returned an average of around 10% annually over time. You can invest in index funds through platforms such as Fidelity or Charles Schwab

Robinhoodthis has become an easy tool for everyone to use with its free stock buying service. It’s easy to sign up and use and you can start investing with as little as $10. 

Betterment: a robo-advisor that manages your money with minimal effort from you. A robo-advisor is a computer algorithm that builds a portfolio and manages your money based on your goals and risk tolerance.

Acorns: Acorns is a great way to save your money and invest it. By linking your bank account, it automatically invests the change from purchases you make. For example, if you buy a cup of coffee for $4.25 from Starbucks, Acorns will invest the remaining 75 cents into your portfolio. It might seem small at first, but in a couple of months, you’ll be surprised to see how much your account has grown.

There you have it – 10 amazing ways to make passive income while you’re in college. 


What Makes a Good Passive Income?

A good passive income is one that can make you money without much effort, so you can focus on other things you want to do. 

That’s why you should pick one that uses the least amount of your time and effort to maintain. Especially being in college where you need to focus on your classes, extra-curriculars, looking for internships, or hanging out with friends after class!

Asking these questions can help:


  • Can you pursue the idea around your college schedule?
  • Can it make enough money for what you want? That could be your tuition, books, car payments, or just food money. Plan out what you need the money for so you can decide which idea you want to go after. 
  • Will you enjoy it? Having a passive income shouldn’t feel like a boring chore or a 9-5. It should be something you can enjoy doing and feel successful at when it starts making money. 

Next time you’re looking for a way to start making passive in college, try one of these ideas.

Let me know in the comments what you do to make money in college!

Ifraz Chaudhry
Ifraz Chaudhry

Hi! I'm Ifraz. Big fan of personal finance and finding ways to make extra money. I started Fineedom to help you start that side hustle idea, make extra money, and manage it the right way!

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