It’s time for college students across the country to head off to institutions of higher learning, and their new lifestyle requires a lot of gear to make them as comfortable and productive as possible. I have several college students in my family, and I like to send them back to school with a little gift—so I’m always on the hunt for great items that they will really enjoy, but will also allow me to stay within my budget. Here are nine back-to-school gifts under $25 that will surely come in handy for any college student:

1. Scan Disk Cruzer 16GB Flash Drive

College students are always on the go. They’re studying at a friend’s dorm, working in the computer lab, or giving a multimedia presentation in class, so having a flash drive to keep their school work on is a must. The Scandisk Cruzer Switch offers features such as file encryption, private folders, password protection, and a flip-top design, which is a nice feature for those of us who always seem to lose the cap! However, the most important feature that this drive offers is free online storage and backup from a cloud storage service so you can remotely access your online data from any web browser. If you’ve ever lost a term paper or a school project, you know exactly how important having a backup really is. The Scandisk Cruzer Switch is currently available on Amazon for $12.81.

2. Netflix subscription

Most college students don’t have the time to catch their favorite shows on broadcast TV or the money to go to the movies, so treat them to a Netflix subscription. The service costs $7.99 a month, and though you can purchase as many months for your favorite student as you like, a 3-month subscription would be just under $25. If you’re worried that they’ll need a streaming device to watch it, don’t. Netflix can be streamed through a computer running Windows or Mac operating systems, but they’ll also be able to stream it through their TV if they own a gaming device such as a Playstation 3, Xbox or Wii.

3. Student planner

Despite the fact that we live in an age when technology is in all aspects of our lives, most students still find a good old-fashioned planner key to staying on top of things. The Palgrave Student Planner, which can be purchased at, has numerous features that put it above the rest. Not only is the 8.5″x6.7″ size perfect, but it comes equipped with timetables, study skills advice, diary pages with weekly tips, time slots and to-do lists, useful contacts and websites, personal finance guidance, spelling rules, international information, notes pages, maps, a plastic pocket, and even a bookmark. Not only does it come with everything that a student planner should, but with a price tag of $9.92, it is priced well below others that don’t offer as many features.

4. Laundry hamper with wheels

One of the little inconveniences that I always had to deal with in college was having to lug all of my laundry from the fifth floor down to the first floor where all of the washing machines were located. It wasn’t uncommon that I would get back to my room missing items that I had dropped along the way! Treat your college student to a rolling laundry hamper and help them avoid that headache. This Household Essentials Pop-Up Hamper with Wheels also comes with a shoulder strap to make it easier to carry up and down stairs. It folds flat for easy storage and is made with breathable mesh to minimize odors. It may not be the flashiest gift, but throw a few rolls of quarters in this $22.35 hamper, and your college student will be thanking you every time they do their laundry.

5. Graduation Countdown Clock

If you’re looking for something a little more fun, check out this Graduation Countdown Clock. Set this clock to your student’s graduation date and they can watch the countdown of days, hours, minutes and seconds until the big day. I especially love this gift for a student entering their last year! Priced at $11.39, this countdown clock can be purchased at Perpetual Kid.

6. Touchscreen gloves

Most college students are connected at the hip to their gadgets. But how will they text or use their touchscreens when the weather turns chilly and they want to wear gloves? By using touchscreen gloves, of course! They may sounds silly to some folks, but these gloves are actually extremely convenient and a very practical gift. Most touchscreens use capacitive touch, a technology that registers movement by picking up on fluctuations in the screen's electrical field. This means that something applying pressure to the screen is only registered if it also has an electrical current. This is why our skin works but most fabrics, such as gloves, do not. Texting gloves solve this problem by adding in a conductive material. These Agloves Sport Texting Gloves are actually made with real silver—the most conductive element in the periodic table. These gloves are compatible with all capacitive touch devices such as iPhones, iPads, Nooks and even ATM machines! They also have great ratings for their accuracy and warmth and are reasonably priced at under $10.

7. Single-brew coffee maker

College students are always waking up early to run off to class or staying up to late to study, so it makes sense that they’re notoriously big coffee drinkers. This Black and Decker Brew ‘n Go Personal Coffeemaker is a perfect gift for the student on the go, since it brews the coffee directly into the accompanying travel mug. Great features for students are the permanent filter, which eliminates the need to purchase paper filters, and automatic shut-off in case they forget to turn it off before they rush to class. The filter can also be used to heat water for instant soup, hot chocolate or that old college staple, ramen noodles. With consistently high reviews and a price tag of just under $17, this is one of the best single-serve coffeemakers on the market.

8. Backrest pillow

Although most dorm rooms do come equipped with a desk, I think it’s a safe bet that most students do a large portion of their work from their bed. However, reading a book or working on a laptop isn’t particularly comfortable with a regular pillow, which is why a backrest pillow is a great gift for students. A backrest pillow makes it comfortable to read while in bed, on the couch, or even on the floor when hanging out with a study group. This Brentwood Backrest Pillow is one of my favorites not only because it looks so plush and soft, but because it actually has a top handle for easy transport from dorm to dorm. The Brentwood Backrest Pillow is available for $24.95 at Bed Bath & Beyond.

9. A sweet treat

When I think back to college, I remember a lot of late nights studying for a big exam or working on a term paper. I also remember always scrounging around trying to find something to munch on during those late nights! Most college students are on a pretty tight budget and don’t have a ton of extra cash to blow on snacks and goodies, so can you imagine their excitement when one of these shows up at their dorm? For $19.99, this half-gallon Popcorn Factory Survival Kit, available through 1800Flowers, comes packed with Cheese and Almond Pecan Corn, Jelly Belly Fruit Snacks, red licorice, rainbow sandwich cookies, chocolates and Kiddy Mix candies. 1800Flowers offers plenty of other savory sweets to choose from, and you can also check with your student’s university, as many actually offer their own care packages available through their bookstore. Of course, as a KCL, you can also score tons of snacks for cheap or free with coupons and put together your own care package full of munchies!

9 Budget Back-to-School Gifts for College Students