Microsoft Makes It Easier for Students and Teachers to Get Office for Free

Microsoft Makes It Easier for Students and Teachers to Get Office for Free

Brilliant plan to make the best available for free

Microsoft has long offered discounted and even free Office offers for students and educators, but even its excellent Student Advantage program—which gives them Office for free—requires that the school initiates the service, creates the account and then orders the Office 365 license on behalf of the student. So now, Microsoft is taking away the middleman and making it easier than ever for students and teachers to get Office 365.

Here's how it works for students:

1. Visit Office 365 for Students (you must attend a school that has purchased Office organization-wide for all faculty/staff via the Microsoft Volume Licensing program)

2. Enter your valid school-provided email address

3. There is no step 3.

If you're a teacher or faculty, you will soon be able to access the same Office 365 ProPlus benefit as your students, Microsoft says: Any organization that purchases 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.

Here's what you get:

Office 2013, with the latest versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Access and Publisher

The same liberal Office 365 licensing we see with other subscriptions, allowing installation on up to five PCs or Macs, and Office apps on other mobile devices including Windows tablets and iPad

1 Terabyte of OneDrive cloud storage

Office Online with web-based access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote Online.

The student offer is available now in the United States and will expand worldwide by the end of the year, Microsoft says. Teachers in the U.S. can sign up for Office 365 ProPlus in October; that program will expand to teachers worldwide later this year.

"The new self-service model removes all of that unnecessary friction and delay by simply allowing eligible students to sign up for the service themselves, while maintaining the same level of control, flexibility and security institutions have come to expect from Office 365," the Office team writes in a post to the Office Blogs. "These changes not only make it easier for students to get Office, but it makes managing the services easier on school IT."

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