Buying a car, college grad? Don’t forget the rebates.

Most major automakers offer discounts to college grads. All college grads need to do is read the fine print. 

Mike Blake/Reuters/File
A row of new 2010 Toyota Prius hybrid vehicles sit for sale in the car lot at the Toyota dealership in El Cajon, Calif., in this 2010 file photo. Most major automakers offer a discount to recent college grads, although Toyota's program is limited to the southeastern US.

You’ve worked hard to get your college degree. If you’re not swamped in student loan debt and are considering buying a car to help you navigate your new place in the world, there’s some help available.

The good news is that most major automakers offer some form of college graduate discount. The bad news is that some are regional offers, and many are somewhat confusing in their terms.

But you got through college exams, right? So, sifting through the fine print should be a talent you’ve developed by now.

Here’s a sampling of some of the special discounts available from automakers to college grads this June.

Ford College Student Purchase Program

Ford is covering all its bases with a discount program available to full-time and part-time college students (freshmen through seniors), graduate students, trade school students, and recent college grads. It only applies to residents of the United States and to vehicles sold in the U.S.

All you need to do is to sign up for the Ford College Student Purchase Program and then purchase or lease a new 2011, 2012 or 2013 Ford or Lincoln vehicle to receive your $500 student bonus. This is on top of any applicable national Ford incentives available at the time.

General Motors Best in Class Alumni & Student Discount

The program is a little different at General Motors, where the discount isn’t a fixed amount but a Preferred Price that’s less than MSRP. TheGeneral Motors Best in Class Alumni & Student Discount program is available on many new and unused 2011, 2012 and 2013 model year Chevrolet, Buick and GMC vehicles and can be combined with current incentives.

Eligible participants for the GM college discount program include college students from any two- or four-year school, recent graduates who have graduated no more than two years ago, and current nursing school and graduate students.

To get the discount, you apply for an authorization number through the Best in Class Alumni & Student Discount website, print it out and bring it to a participating Chevrolet, Buick or GMC dealer. Be sure to mention that you’ll be using the Best in Class Alumni & Student Discount in your first contact with the dealer. You’ll also need to bring proof of eligibility: evidence of enrollment or your diploma.

Honda Graduate Program

Honda gives graduates a head start by offering flexible, competitive financing through Honda Financial Services on the purchase or lease of a new or Certified Used Honda vehicle. On traditional financing, college grads can also benefit from a deferred first-payment option for 90 days, with 60 days interest-free.

The Honda Graduate Program has a few minimum eligibility requirements, including five percent minimum down payment; no adverse credit history; verifiable proof of employment or a firm job offer commitment with a start date no more than 120 days from the date of the finance contract.

The program is open to graduates with a master’s, bachelor’s or associate degree from a U.S.-accredited two- or four-year college or registered nursing school. Eligible participants must have graduated during the past two years or will graduate in the next four months from the date of the finance contract.

Credit and document requirements must be presented to the Honda dealer at the time of purchase or lease. Certain current offers are also available with the Honda Graduate Program.

Hyundai College Grad Program

The Hyundai College Grad Program offers eligible graduates the opportunity to buy any new 2011, 2012 or 2013 model year Hyundai vehicle with no down payment, an additional $400 on top of current Hyundai rebates and 90 days until the first month’s payment (not available in Connecticut and Pennsylvania).

Visit your Hyundai dealer and bring a copy of your diploma or letter from the registrar’s office stating you graduated or will graduate, along with proof of employment or an offer letter from a prospective employer. Hyundai Motor Finance must deem your salary adequate to cover living expenses and car payments.

Graduates of a four-year university, accredited two-year college or nursing school are eligible. Graduation must be within the past two years or the next six months. Offer includes graduates and graduate candidates attending accredited master’s or doctorate programs. Hyundai vehicle must be purchased between April 3, 2012 and July 2, 2012.

Nissan SignatureGRADUATE Program

Nissan offers recent college graduates a customized finance choice through the company’sSignatureGRADUATE Program. The program includes $500 cash back on 2011/2012 Nissan Rogue, Xterra, Cube, Altima sedan and coupe, Versa hatchback, and Juke, and 2012 Versa sedan, Sentra and Frontier. Ninety days deferred payment option is available on loans up to 60 months.

To qualify, provide proof of graduation within the next six months or the past two years from an accredited U.S. two- or four-year college or university, graduate school or nursing school. Students currently enrolled in graduate school are also eligible. Other requirements are proof of current employment or employment beginning within 90 days of financing approval, sufficient income to cover normal living expenses and car payments, auto insurance and approved credit.

Southeast Toyota College Grad Rebate Program

If you live in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North or South Carolina, are a recent college graduate or will soon graduate, are employed or have proof of employment beginning within 120 days of credit approval, you may be eligible for the Southeast Toyota College Grad Rebate Program.

Qualifying applicants get a $1,000 rebate on the purchase or lease of a new Toyota Camry (gasoline model only), Corolla, Matrix, RAV4, Tacoma, Yaris, or any Scion model. The College Grad Rebate Program may be combined with some other offers. Offer expires January 2, 2013.

Volkswagen College Graduate Program

With the Volkswagen College Graduate Program, eligible participants who buy or lease a new or certified pre-owned Volkswagen through Volkswagen Credit will have their first month’s payment (up to $800) paid by VW. If you lease, there’s no security deposit required. In addition, there’s no credit history required, but if you do have existing credit, it must be in good standing. VW promises great rates even if you don’t have credit, and there’s no co-signer needed.

Getting started is easy. Visit your Volkswagen dealer and bring proof you graduated in the past 24 months or will graduate in the next six months, have a full-time job or written commitment from a future employer. You’ll also need three personal references and be approved by Volkswagen Credit.

Other college grad offers

There are other special college grad offers to check out. See your local dealer for details on the following:

  • Acura – Special financing, leasing, and purchase-plan packages; deferred first-payment option for 90 days, with 60 days interest-free.
  • Audi – Special leasing offers.
  • Infiniti – Special financing and leasing offers, delayed first payment.
  • Lexus – No down payment when financing; 90-day deferred first payment, and complimentary roadside assistance for one year.
  • Mazda – Special leasing and financing options.
  • MINI – Special financing offers.
  • Subaru – Special leasing and financing options.
You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Buying a car, college grad? Don’t forget the rebates.
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today