Microsoft gives students free Office 365

Schools and colleges that license Office for staff can hand out Office subscriptions to students

Schools and universities that license Microsoft Office for their staff can now hand out Office 365 free to students, Microsoft said Monday.

The program, dubbed "Student Advantage," was unveiled in mid-October, when Microsoft promised that it would debut Dec. 1.

Educational institutions, whether K-12 school districts or those in higher education, that license Office Professional Plus 2013 or Office 365 ProPlus -- the former is traditionally-licensed software while the latter is a subscription -- can now also hand Office 365 ProPlus subscriptions to students, free of charge.

Schools and universities must have licensed Office for staff and faculty institution-wide, according to Microsoft, to be eligible for the student give-away. When students graduate, their Office 365 subscription expires.

Office 365 ProPlus includes rights to download and install copies of the newest Office desktop applications on up to five Windows PCs or Macs owned by the student, as well as rights to run the iPhone or Android editions of Office Mobile.

Students, faculty and staff at universities that do not equip employees with Office can instead pay a flat $80 for a four-year subscription to Office 365 University. That subscription program allows Office 2013 to be installed on up to two PCs or Macs, and Office Mobile on as many as two mobile devices.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His email address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

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