Students and Teachers Get Microsoft Office for Free

Check your school's eligibility for Office 365 Education

The Ultimate Guide to Online Learning at Home
The Ultimate Guide to Online Learning at Home

Not only can students and teachers easily check their school's eligibility for a free Office 365 subscription, but they should also be able to sign up for the offer themselves rather than going through an administrator.

Students pointing to computer screen.
Leren Lu/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Microsoft Office 365 Education

Microsoft features a bunch of Office 365 plans for personal, business, or non-profit use. One such plan may already be in place at your school. By going through the following eligibility check, you should have your questions answered about this, but if not, you can ask your school's administration whether they have Office 365 Education.

What is Included for Eligible Students and Teachers

These free accounts for students and teachers include the latest available desktop versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Access and Publisher (Office 2019 for Windows or Office 2019 for Mac). Not only that, but these desktop programs can be installed on as many as five PCs or Macs as well as up to five mobile devices.

This also implies integration with Office Online, the browser-based version of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. The important thing about Office Online is that it allows you to collaborate on a document in real-time with other students or teachers. If you do need to work offline, you can save locally then sync changes once a connection is reestablished.

The offer also includes free storage in OneDrive. Documents saved to OneDrive can be accessed across all your mobile and desktop devices. The Office 365 Education plan typically allows educational institutions to offer the Office and OneDrive experience plus sites, free email, instant messaging, and web conferencing. You may need to check with your school for details on these components.

Determining Eligibility

This program has been in effect for a while, but now it is more simple to determine whether your school is a qualifying institution. Quite a few students are eligible for this opportunity.

Checking for eligibility requires a school email address. If you do not have access to the email account issued by your school, you should start by troubleshooting that. Next, visit the appropriate website to further investigate the possibilities for your school:

What Administrators of Eligible Institutions Need to Do

Not much. This is the elegant thing about Microsoft's offer, as described on their Office in Education site:

"There are no administrative actions your institution needs to take to enroll. You can simply communicate the availability of Office 365 Education for Students to your students using content from our toolkit. Access the toolkit. Contact your Microsoft representative with specific questions about the steps your school should take."

For Non-Eligible Students or Teachers

Your interest may prompt important conversations on behalf of the other students or teachers at your school. If your school is not eligible you can reach out to your school's administration to request that they reach out to Microsoft regarding failed eligibility.