While I attended Uni, we signed up for a ton of free trials to various magazines -- Linux Format, Linux Journal, EE Times, InfoSecurity, etc. We got pretty lucky in that most of the free trials never ended. And if they did, we'd pool together money and buy a year's subscription. The department even bought a couple for us.
I can't stress how influential these magazines were to our participation. We were in an academic environment surrounded by geniuses in their field. We could read an article and nobody would understand it -- bring that topic up at the end of a lecture and talk about it for 20-30 minutes with the prof afterwards. Abstract concepts began to tie in with lecture materials. We were able to validate our courses of study and how it can relate to the real world. While this could've been just as likely by printing out articles or emailing the prof articles and asking his opinion, it was much easier because everyone (mostly) had thumbed through the communal magazines and had some rudimentary understanding of what's being talked about. We were able to actively participate in the discussion. That comfort in asking questions and talking in front of peers led to some great lectures -- many of which probably wouldn't have existed without the magazines.