Blood money: A quick guide to plasma donation


Alexis Romitti, freshman in apparel, merchandising and design, smiles while giving blood at the blood drive on Oct. 9. 

Brian Mccarthy

For college students, every cent earned counts. 

In addition to food, clothing and rent, many students have to pay their own tuition and some have thousands of dollars in loans looming on the horizon. 

One option to earn extra money is by giving blood plasma to BioLife Plasma Services.

While compensation can vary from time to time, at least $20 can be expected for each donation. Healthy adults can give plasma twice a week, with at least one full day between donations.

During his or her first appointment, donors must go through a physical exam and fill out a medical history questionnaire.

At each appointment after that, a technician will prick the donor’s finger and take a small blood sample to make sure he or she is healthy enough to donate. Temperature, pulse, blood pressure and weight also will be measured.

A first appointment can take up to two hours, but after that, donors can expect to stay for about an hour per session.

Plasma donation is a safe and non-invasive procedure. Blood is drawn out of the patient’s arm by a needle. The plasma is then separated from the blood, and the remaining blood products are returned to the donor’s body.

At their first appointment, students planning to donate plasma will need:

  • Proof of a local address.
  • A photo ID. 
  • A form of identification with the donor’s signature.
  • A document with the donor’s Social Security number (international students will need their visa number).

Donated plasma can help in treatments for burn victims, people with hemophilia and immune deficiencies. Because plasma is impossible to make artificially, donations save lives. 

BioLife is located at 1618 Golden Aspen Drive in Ames. It can be reached via the grey bus route and is just south of the stop at 16th Street and Golden Aspen Drive. 

If you’re interested in scheduling an appointment, prospective donors can register at