Microsoft gives students free access to Office 365 through new Student Advantage program

Of the 20 most needed future job skills, Microsoft Office ranks as the third most required skill, explicitly requested in 15 percent of positions, according to a study commissioned by Microsoft and conducted by IDC. Designed to explore the technical and cognitive skills necessary for success in tomorrow’s high-growth, high-salary occupations, the study also found that Microsoft PowerPoint and Word hold the number 11 and number 13 spots, respectively.

With this data in mind, Microsoft will roll out a new program called Student Advantage on Dec. 1, 2013 to equip students of qualifying academic institutions worldwide with the latest version of Microsoft Office 365.

Microsoft introduced the program as a way to help students gain the skills and technical acumen necessary to pursue future occupations in high-growth career fields, such as medical support, sales, marketing, computer programming, and others.

Student Advantage also benefits academic institutions, namely in the form of huge cost savings. Mark Hachman of PCWorld estimates that a large institution such as Pennsylvania State University could save upwards of $2.9 million per year by using Student Advantage to equip students with Microsoft Office.

Beginning Dec. 1, any academic institution that licenses Office 365 ProPlus, Office 365 A3 or A4, or Office Professional Plus for its faculty and staff and does so via Enrollment for Education Solutions (EES); Open Value Subscription for Educational Solution (OVS-ES); or School Agreement will be eligible to provide Office 365 ProPlus to students at no additional cost. To take advantage of this program, institutions must order the $0 Office 365 ProPlus SKU for students through their large account reseller (LAR) or a Microsoft Authorized Education Reseller (AER). Student Advantage will not be available through the Microsoft Online Services Portal.

Institutions not currently covered by Office that wish to cover their students can purchase a Student Option for Office. They can also purchase Office for all faculty and staff first and then participate in Student Advantage for their students.

Customers without a Student Option on their EES or OVS-ES can add it by filling out the Student Option portion of the EES or OVS-ES agreement. Organizations will need to complete and submit this request to their reseller to ensure correct appropriation of the $0 Office 365 Pro Plus option.

It’s important to note that Student Advantage only offers Office in the cloud as opposed to on-premises licenses. As part of the program, students can run Office 365 ProPlus on as many as five devices. But unlike with EES, OVS-ES, and School agreements, the Office 365 Pro Plus subscription expires at graduation.

For more information about enrolling in the Student Advantage program, contact your SHI representative.

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