Free Office for students

Microsoft has made it easier for students to get a free copy of the Microsoft Office suite with a major streamlining of their existing Student Advantage program.

How to get the free Office

The student (13 years and older) has to be enrolled at a school which has MS Office licenced for all faculty and staff via Microsoft Volume Licencing.  Check with the IT department about this.

If that’s the case then go to http://www.office.com/getoffice365 , click on the ‘Find out if you’re eligible’ link and enter a school supplied email address (i.e. the student’s ‘in school’ email address with the school domain name).

If the email address is accepted you’ll be taken through the installation and activation process.

(Since the announcement a few hours ago, there have been overload problems on the Microsoft servers.  A little patience and everyone will be activated.)

US only but an option globally

This streamlined offer is limited to US schools only, at the moment. Microsoft is promising that it’ll be extended around the world ‘later this year’.

However the old version of the Student Advantage program continues to be available outside the USA.  If the school is prepared to deal with the admin hassles (see below), their students can get the Office suite now.

What students get

The free offer is basically the same as an Office 365 Home Premium costing $99 a year.

  • Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Access and Publisher
  • Installable on up to 5 PC or Mac’s
  • Office apps including Office for iPad.
  • 1 Terabyte of OneDrive cloud storage

Of course, some kids may already have these features through their parents Office 365 Home Premium subscription.  But a few more Office activations can always come in handy <g>.

What’s new

What’s new today is the way this administration and deployment is handled.  It was very clumsy and expensive for schools.

Schools were (and still are outside the USA) responsible for the distribution of the free Office licences. They had to start the service, make an account and order a separate Office 365 account for each student.

Great … like schools didn’t have enough administration hassles already.

All that’s gone with US students dealing directly with Microsoft for the validation and account creation.

Not just the kiddies …

The faculty and staff also get an upgrade.  From 1 December 2014, schools with an Office volume licence for all staff/faculty will be able to include an Office 365 ProPlus pack too.

Office 365 ProPlus is basically the same ‘5 installs, plus mobile’ as the students get.

Qualifying US adults can sign up for the ProPlus offer in October with the rest of the world coming ‘later this year’.

Microsoft has a video to promote this streamlined admin process.