For millions out there, the Microsoft Office software suite represents an indispensable utility in their daily activities. But not everybody can afford to pay every year for these products, especially students. That’s why Microsoft said it will make a version of its Office 365 productivity software free for students and will also include a free terabyte of storage on the company’s OneDrive cloud service.
One of the reasons for the move is because Microsoft wants to ensure that the nation’s school system is producing students able to work with computers and digital technologies. But, obviously, another reason is to get young users ‘hooked up’ and accustomed with their products, which will make it easier to convert them into returning customers once they’re no longer students. Anthony Salcito, Microsoft’s VP for Worldwide Education, said in a statement recently:
“Today’s education system is not adequately preparing students for jobs of the future. Microsoft found that this skills gap could be closed by focusing on communications, knowledge integration and presentation skills.”
The free subscription to Office 365 ProPlus includes access to the full versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Access and Publisher on up to five PCs or Macs. They’ll also have access to Office apps on Windows tablets and the iPad, along with 1 TB of free OneDrive storage, and Office Online. Students and teachers will be able to sign up for the software through a self-serve process.
So, if you’re a student 13 years-old of age or older, in order the check your eligibility and get Office for free, you need to go to the official Office 365 for Students page and then enter a valid school-provided email address. Right now, the offer is available only for students in the U.S. today, but it will expand worldwide later this year. Microsoft also said that teachers and faculty staff will also be able to benefit from this:
We’re also announcing that faculty and staff will soon be able to access the same Office 365 ProPlus benefit as their students. This means that any organization purchasing Office for all of their faculty and staff can now include an Office 365 ProPlus subscription at no extra cost for all students, faculty and staff.
Extending the Office 365 ProPlus benefit to faculty and staff ensures that teachers are using the latest versions of Office and the same feature set as their students. It will allow teachers to install full Office on up to five PCs or Macs and unlock the editing capabilities of the Office apps for iPad. It also gives them access to all their Office documents both at school and at home. With Office 365 ProPlus teachers can take advantage of great Office apps and add-ins like Office Mix to record and publish class lectures.
Students need to be attending campuses that have purchased an organization-wide Volume Licensing Program in order to enjoy the free suite of Microsoft Office products. Previously, the Student Advantage Program forced students to contact their campus IT department, which then set up the account and provided access to the students. The process has been simplified a lot this time.
Office is a very important product for Microsoft, as it brings in a lot of revenue. The company added more than 1 million Office 365 subscribers in its most recent fourth quarter, with overall revenue from sales of Office to consumers jumped 21 percent year over year.