Passive Income Ideas for College Students

If there is one thing that all college students can agree on, it is that earning some extra cash will never be a bad thing. The only issue is that oftentimes it can be difficult to figure out a way to make that extra money in a way that works with a college student’s schedule, rather than disrupting it or taking up too much time. Luckily, there are plenty of options for earning income that can fit around a busy, frequently-changing class schedule!

Passive Income vs Part-Time Job

The top areas for college students looking to earn extra cash are passive income streams and flexible part-time jobs, or freelancing. The two are similar in their opportunity for making money when it works for you, rather than on a set schedule. What sets them apart are their required time investments and day-to-day operation. 

The biggest difference between passive income streams and part-time work is the level of involvement that is needed to earn income. Passive income streams are typically something that requires a larger time investment in the beginning to set up, but after the initial setup are largely self-sufficient and don’t require being involved every day. Flexible part-time jobs, or freelancing, are jobs that do not have a set schedule, but do require active involvement to earn income. 

Passive Income Ideas

Earning passive income can be ideal for a college student. After the initial setup and regular updates, there is a low level of involvement needed on a day-to-day basis. Passive income sources typically take some time to make significant income, but their self-sufficiency once they are established is unmatched. 


Blogging and affiliate marketing in general is a great way to earn passive income! Is there a topic that you are very knowledgeable about, or something you’re just super interested in? Launching a blog could be the start of earning income from ad revenue generated by the page or from paid partnerships with brands. With just a little time invested into posting at regular intervals, a blog can grow in no time. 

Selling Templates

Selling templates online is a solid passive income stream after initial setup of a storefront, and doubles as a fun creative outlet. Templates can be designed for almost anything you can imagine, from resumes to Instagram story posts. Set up a store on Etsy or your own website and you’re on your way to making sales. 

Low-Content Publishing 

Low-content publishing has a bit of a learning curve to get started, but can be very lucrative with minimal involvement. Low-content publishing can be done through the Amazon Kindle Direct platform. All it requires is setting up an account, and getting started by creating your first book. Low-content books can be as simple or as complex as you would like – some popular low-content niches are journals with blank pages that take almost no time to design, as well as children’s activity books that take a bit more creativity and formatting. Whatever direction you go, you will simply upload digital files for the book, it will go onto the marketplace, and anyone will be able to purchase your creation either digitally or in a physical copy that Amazon prints for you.

Flexible Part-Time Jobs 

Having a flexible part-time job, or being a freelancer, is perfect for anyone that has a hectic schedule and would like to be in control of when they make money, instead of having a set schedule that doesn’t change despite potential school responsibilities or deadlines. 

Freelance Writing

If you enjoy writing, being a freelance writer could be a perfect fit. There are many popular sites to get started on, like Fiverr or Upwork, that will allow you to showcase your work and connect with individuals or businesses that need freelance work done. Set up a strong profile, upload some sample pieces, and you are ready to take on projects. You can set your own hourly rates as well as how many hours you are available to work each week, so it can be customized around any schedule. 

Pet Sitting

Let’s be honest, there is only one thing better than hanging out with pets, and it’s being paid to hang out with pets. Pet sitting and dog walking while owners are at work or out of town is perfect for animal lovers who want to earn some extra income. Apps like Rover are made for connecting pet-sitters with people who need some help making sure their pets are happy and healthy while they are away. 

Data Entry 

Data entry can oftentimes be done whenever you have some free time. Lots of companies outsource this work, so if you are good at typing, there are always opportunities to get paid for doing this work either on an hourly basis or per project/document. 

Overall, passive income and freelance work are ideal for college students and can be customized to your schedule and interests. Earning extra cash as a student does not have to be limited to part-time jobs that have inflexible schedules. If any of these ideas sound interesting to you, look further into them and similar opportunities! While these are some of the most popular ideas, there is no limit to the opportunities for earning income on your own schedule. 

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