You've studied day in and day out for years, skipping the party scene in favor of the library on your way to a hard-earned college degree. Now it's time to move forward with your life and enter the career workforce for the first time. Automakers know that a college degree is the best step you can take toward a solid financial future, and are willing to reward your hard work with special discount offers and college graduate purchase and lease programs designed to help get you into a brand-new car, even without the typical required extensive credit history.
Taking the form of cash rebates, deferred payments, prime lease offers, special financing programs geared toward recent grads, and even no-haggle pricing under dealer invoice, each automaker offers something extra special to work with you as a new college graduate.
Here's some info on college graduate programs from all the top automakers, current as of May 2013. Each program is a little different, but here's what you'll generally need:
- Graduated with an Associate's or greater degree within the last 2 years, or within the next 6 months (this varies by manufacturer).
- No significant negative credit history.
- Qualifying employment, or a letter of intent from your new employer set to take effect within 6 months.
- A copy of your diploma.
- Current car insurance.
Special financing rates and lease programs on new or Certified Pre-Owned Acura cars for recent (last 2 years) or soon-to-be (next 4 months) college graduates, including available deferred payments for 90 days and no interest for the first 60 days.
The Audi Financial Services College Graduate Program offers a specially tailored financing option for recent (past 2 years) or soon-to-be (next 6 months) grads requiring a less-extensive credit history than traditional Audi financial offers, with special payment plans designed for those new to the work force.
Students set to graduate within 4 months, or who have finished within the last 12 months, are eligible for a $1,000 cash credit on any new BMW vehicle, or a $750 cash credit on any Certified Pre-Owned BMW, plus special financing programs.
Current college students at all levels and those who have graduated within the past 2 years are eligible for the Chevrolet College Discount Program, bringing special Preferred Price offers well under MSRP on nearly every Chevrolet model.
Recent graduates (last 2 years), soon-to-be grads (next 6 months), or those currently enrolled in a master's or doctoral program are eligible for a $500 cash credit on any new Chrysler model (except SRT), stackable with most other current special offers.
Recent graduates (last 2 years) or soon-to-be grads (next 6 months), or those currently enrolled in a master's or doctoral program are eligible for a $500 cash credit on any new Dodge model (excludes SRT cars, Dart SE), stackable with most other current special offers.
Recent graduates (last 2 years) or soon-to-be grads (next 6 months), or those currently enrolled in a master's or doctoral program are eligible for a $500 cash credit on any new Fiat model, stackable with most other current special offers.
Current college students at all levels or recent grads are eligible for a special $500 cash allowance on nearly every Ford model, stackable with other current special offers.
Graduated college within the past 2 years, or set to graduate within in the next 6 months? Hyundai offers a special purchase program with no down payment, a $400 cash allowance on top of current rebates, and no payments for 90 days. Available on all Hyundai vehicles.
Recent or soon-to-be college graduates are eligible for Infiniti's SignatureGRADUATE Financing Program, bringing special APR rates or lease payments, along with deferred payments for up to 90 days.
Individuals who've graduated with a 2-year, 4-year or graduate-level degree within the last 2 years or will do so within the next 6 months, plus current graduate-level students, are eligible for a special $1,000 cash rebate on a new Lexus CT 200h, IS 250 Sedan or IS 350 Sedan.
Students graduating within 6 months, or who have done so within the last 2 years, are eligible for special financing programs on all new Mazda vehicles requiring a less-extensive credit history than other buyers.
Graduated with an Associate's or greater degree within the past 12 months, or set to do so within the next 6 months? Take $500 off any new MINI vehicle in addition to other current special offers.
Recent or upcoming college graduates with verified employment can lease or purchase a new Mitsubishi vehicle with no money down and Preferred College Graduate special financing/lease rates.
Soon-to-be (next 6 months) or recent (last 2 years) college graduates at all levels are eligible for Nissan's College Graduate Preferred Pricing Program, bringing special “No Haggle, No Hassle” pricing below dealer invoice before any current incentives, plus special financing programs and deferred payments for 90 days.
Recent or soon-to-be grads can take $500 off the purchase or lease of any new Scion model, in addition to no money down and no payments for 90 days for purchasers or a waived security deposit for lessees, and the lowest available APR rates, even for buyers without an extensive credit history.
Subaru's College Graduate Program offers special seasonal purchase and lease rates for recent or near-future college grads, plus qualification consideration for all current special offers even for students without significant credit.
Graduated with an Associate's or greater within 2 years, or set to within the next 6 months? Toyota offers a $500 cash rebate on Toyota Camry (excluding Hybrid models), Corolla, Matrix, RAV4, Tacoma, Yaris or Prius c, plus special APR financing rates, no down payment, and deferred payments for up to 90 days.
Volkswagen makes it easy to get into a new VW for soon-to-be or recent grads at all levels, offering prime lease and financing rates even for buyers with no credit history, with no co-signer required. They'll also make your first payment (up to $800), and waive the security deposit for lessees.