Microsoft announced a new program today in which some students will be able to get Office 365 for free.
Under the program, called Student Advantage, schools and universities worldwide that license Office 365 ProPlus or Office Profesional Plus for staff and faculty can deliver Office 365 ProPlus to their students at no additional cost.
(Office Professional Plus is the traditional desktop version of Office designed for businesses. Office 365 ProPlus is the cloud subscription version of that and includes additional features such as the ability to locally install and use the service on up to five devices and access to Office Mobile for iPhone and Android phones.)
About 35,000 educational institutions worldwide are eligible to provide the Student Advantage program currently, Microsoft said.
Microsoft already offers a number of programs for students and educational institutions, including Office 365 Education and Office 365 University.
Office 365 Education offers a free version to students and faculty in which most of the services are limited to and accessed via Office Web Apps. Those paying a subscription fee are able to get those services locally installed as well.
Office 365 University, which is sold at retail, allows any university student, faculty or staff to buy a four-year subscription for $79.999. That allows for the installation of Office applications on 2 PCs or Macs and 2 mobile devices.
Those who have already bought Office 365 University presumably will not be able to get a refund if their school starts offering them Office 365 ProPlus for free since “Student Advantage does not replace Office 365 University,” a Microsoft spokeswoman wrote in an email. “Office 365 University will continue to be sold at retail to students at colleges and universities that do not take qualify or opt for the Student Advantage benefit. Office 365 University also includes an extra 20 GB of SkyDrive storage and 60 minutes per month of Skype premium. These two services are not available with Office 365 Pro Plus.”