Qualifying higher education students, faculty and staff can purchase or upgrade to a version of Microsoft's cloud productivity environment, Office 365. The student-priced version of this office suite subscription is called Office 365 University.
Programs Included in Office 365 University
The Office 365 University suite includes the latest versions of Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, OneNote (for PC only), Publisher (for PC only) and Access (for PC only).
OneNote is a particularly compelling tool for students. You can capture notes by touch, pen or keyboard in OneNote, including audio capture.
Microsoft Office 365 is a subscription office suite, which is why Office 365 University will cost $1.67 USD per month, rather than a one-time fee.Compare this to current Office 365 plans and prices.
Qualifying for Office 365 University
Office 365 University is available for full- or part-time enrolled students, faculty and staff in accredited university or college institutions. You will be asked to verify the institution.
Where to Buy or Upgrade
Office 365 University is sold at retailers, perhaps including your campus store, and also at Microsoft's Online Store.
If you are a qualifying student, instructor, or administrator who has already purchased Office University 2010 or Office University for Mac 2011 you will be able to upgrade to Office 365 University depending on your original purchase date.
If you buy Office 365 University anywhere but the Microsoft Store, you can only verify after your purchase, so this is a purchase I would make through a Microsoft Store.
Office 365 University is a cloud-based suite, and that suite resides in SkyDrive, Microsoft’s cloud environment. Students get 20 GB of Premium SkyDrive Storage on top of the usual 7 GB for other subscriptions (27 GB total). That represents a lot of projects, papers, and images, which will be accessible on any device with a Windows connection.
This is thanks to the new Microsoft Account, which is a single sign-on for multiple Microsoft tools.
Installation to Two Computers
With your purchase of an Office 365 University subscription, you can install it two computers, be they PC or Mac.
Office on Demand
This offers access to productivity tools beyond even your own computers or others devices.
Skype for Windows 8 offers some improvements over past versions. Office 365 University comes with 60 Skype world minutes per month for those with an active Skype account. You will want to check the fine print, which includes: “This excludes special, premium and non-geographic numbers. Calls to mobiles are for select countries only. Skype available only in select countries.”
The new subscription model has an additional advantage: no more upgrades (or more precisely, none that you need to mess with). The online version you access will always be the latest and greatest. No more mandatory service packs, unless you are installing a backup to your desktop.
Option to Extend
One of the best parts of this Office 365 University subscription is, you can take advantage of it for four years or renew for up to eight years. After that, you would need to move to a regular (and more expensive) subscription.
Office 365 University will be here soon, and in the meantime hopefully this information has helped you understanding your future productivity options as a higher education student, faculty member, or administrator. Let me know if you have any questions.