How College Students Can Earn Passive Income

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If you’re a student wondering how to make money in college, consider building a passive income stream.

Passive income for students involves putting in some upfront effort so that you can eventually earn money without any more significant work.

It can allow you to make a living without giving up too much of your time. Unlike a traditional job, you’ll have more time for class, homework, internships, extracurricular activities, and hobbies with a passive income stream.

Passive income can also help you cover your living expenses, allow you to travel, and help pay off your debt once you graduate.

Passive Income Ideas for College Students

There are a variety of passive income ideas you can consider as a college student. Use your skills, interests, and personal preferences to decide which ideas to pursue.

1. Start a blog

Do you love to write about a certain topic? If so, starting a blog can be a good way to make passive income. Your blog can be about anything you’re interested in, such as travel, fitness, food, finance. Use it to make passive income through affiliate marketing, advertising, and selling e-books or courses.

Affiliate marketing involves placing referral links on your website so you get paid every time someone clicks on them and makes a purchase. You earn commission by promoting someone else’s products or services.

Another way to make passive income with a blog is by letting other companies advertise to your readers. There are many networks, like AdThrive or Mediavine, that will place ads on your website and pay you for generating clicks to those ads.

If you enjoy teaching others or have experience in a specific subject, you can generate passive income on your blog by selling products. Consider creating an educational and engaging eBook or course and selling it to people who visit your site.

Alex Nerney and Lauren McManus make over $100,000 per month passively by selling eBooks and online courses through their blogs. Within seven months of launching their health and wellness blog, Avocadu, the site was pulling in $10,000 per month. Now they teach other bloggers how to make money with digital products through online courses like Make Money Blogging for Beginners.

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2. Rent your car

If you have a car and don’t use it often, you can rent it out with Getaround. Getaround is a peer-to-peer car-sharing service that gives car owners the chance to rent out their vehicles for cash.

You can earn over $800 a month by renting out your car through Getaround. It also benefits the environment since sharing your car takes about 10 cars off the road (according to Getaround’s site). Fewer cars leads to more parking opportunities and less pollution and congestion.

Related: 40 Easy Ways to Make Money Quickly

3. Learn how to invest

Investing can be tricky at first, but you’ll find it’s an excellent way for students to earn passive income. If you’re new to investing, robo advisors may be a good option.

Think of robo advisors as online investment managers. They use computer algorithms to build a portfolio and manage your investments based on your risk tolerance and goals.

Betterment is a robo advisor that can give you investing advice or do the investing for you. You can manage your investments with minimal effort and stay on track so you can meet your long-term goals.

The sooner you start investing, the more time your money will have to grow. That’s why jumping on the investing bandwagon now while you’re still in college is a smart choice.

Related: How to Start Investing with $100

4. Build a business

You don’t need years of experience in the workforce, an advanced degree, or thousands of dollars to start an online business. If you have an entrepreneurial spirit and the drive to succeed, consider building your own business while you’re still in college.

In the book the $100 Startup, author Chris Guillebeau talks about many people who have started a business with $100 or less. These people found ways to monetize their personal passions.

After starting a business, you can eventually step out and hire others to manage it. For small scale business ideas, think about your passions and strengths and how you can use them to make money.

If you’re a fitness junkie, you may want to launch a personal training business where you offer customized workout routines. If you enjoy developing websites, start a web design and development company.

5. Make YouTube videos

To generate a passive income stream on YouTube, you’ll need to grow an audience. You can do so by creating videos that educate or entertain others.

Once you have an audience, join the YouTube partner program and make money by displaying ads on your videos.


You can also partner with different brands to sell their products or services through your videos. For example, a tech company may pay you to test their newest tablet and review or promote it on your channel.

RelatedCheck Out the DollarSprout YouTube Channel!

3 Other Ways to Make Money as a College Student

Although passive income is usually the preferred way to make money in college, there are lots of other opportunities to bring in cash as a student.

1. Pet sit with Rover

If you’re an animal lover, try pet sitting in your local neighborhood. Rover makes it easy by connecting you to pet owners who need a sitter for their dogs, cats, guinea pigs, or other pets.

With Rover, you get to set your own schedule and choose the age, size, and type of pets you’d like to care for. Rover also offers free ongoing pet care education so you can hone your pet sitting skills. Look for clients near campus so you can do drop-ins and walks between classes.

Related: 24 Best High-Paying Work from Home Jobs

2. Become an online tutor

Whether it’s physics, biology, or another subject, you can’t go wrong with tutoring your peers or younger students. Tutoring can give you the chance to share your expertise with other students and earn some money.

Chegg connects tutors to students who need extra help so you can start earning money from your dorm room, coffee shop, or anywhere else. Tutor every day or occasionally, it’s really up to you and your schedule.

3. Find a paid internship

Landing a paid internship in your field of study can build your resume and increase your chances of getting a great job after graduation.

To find a paid internship, set up a LinkedIn profile and make connections with others in your industry. Check out websites like to find and apply to open positions.

If you do a great job and prove yourself during your internship, you may have a full-time job lined up before you even earn your degree.

College is the Perfect Time To Start Building Passive Income

Most people spend their college years partying and enjoying the lack of financial responsibilities. What many don’t realize is that college is the perfect time to build your skills, try new things, and start building your financial foundation.

As a college student, time is on your side. By learning to invest, building a business, or making money in your spare time, you’ll gain invaluable experience that will make you a more desirable candidate for future employers. Creating a passive income stream in college can also help you graduate with minimal or no debt and jumpstart your way to a financially secure future.

Anna Baluch

Anna Baluch is a freelance personal finance writer who enjoys writing about personal finance topics including mortgages, retirement, insurance, and investing. Her work can be seen on LendingTree, Business Insider, Experian and other well-known publications. Anna lives in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio and holds a bachelor's degree in marketing.

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