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Amazon Extends Monthly Prime Option to Cash-Strapped Students

With the holidays quickly approaching, Amazon is doing everything it can to get its Prime service in as many households as possible. 

The e-commerce giant announced a new pricing option today (Oct. 11) for its Prime Student service. Effective immediately, students with a valid .edu email address can choose to pay $5.49 per month for access to Prime Student services. The new option lets students use Prime Student on a month-to-month basis, instead of making them sign up for a full year at $49 annually.

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Students who've studied hard in math may have spotted the catch here. The $5.49 monthly payments for Prime Student add up to $65.88 over the course of a year — more than $15 higher than the annual membership fee. But monthly payments are aimed more at students who might want to use the service for a little while before dropping out. If you're going to use Prime Student for longer than 8 months, you're better off paying upfront for the full year.

MORE: The Best Student Cellphone Plans

Interestingly enough, a similar option has been available to traditional Prime members, albeit at a pricier $10.99/month. 

Whether you sign up for the full year or go month-to-month, Prime Student includes free 2-day shipping — and, in some cases, one-day — unlimited streaming video and music, and discounts on select video game pre-orders, among other shopping perks.

New Prime Student members still get a 6-month trial period, as opposed to traditional Prime subscribers who only get 30 days, so your monthly billing would start after your trial.  

To sweeten its service, Amazon also announced Prime Student members would get access to exclusive student coupons. A quick glance at some current Prime Student coupons includes $3 off Gillette or Venus refills, 30 percent off Colgate toothpaste, and $1 off Viva paper towels