Microsoft launches Student Advantage program for free Office 365 access

In October, Microsoft announced a new program called Student Advantage. which the company said would offer a way for people attending K-12 and college institutions a way to access Office 365 for free. Today, Student Advantage officially became available for over 35,000 school systems and institutions worldwide.

As previously announced, schools and colleges that have signed up to use Office 365 ProPlus or Office Professional Plus for their staff and faculty can now offer access to Office 365 ProPlus to their students for free on up to five devices under this new program.

Microsoft is promoting Student Advantage as a way to help students find a better job once they leave school. The official Office blog states that a survey of employers by IDC earlier this year rank proficiency with Microsoft Office as number three on a list of 20 skills that are considered when a student applies for a job. The blog states, "In fact, Microsoft Office skills were sought after five times more than any other productivity tools."

Microsoft has already announced that the program will allow Office 365 ProPlus to be offered for free to four million students who attend the Sao Paulo State Department of Education system in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Source: Microsoft | Image via Microsoft

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The way they've done it is a little bit sucky.

It could have been centrally managed and automatic, like dreamspark, but no - schools have to wait for their next anniversary date before they can even begin offering it for free to students.

Microsoft audits companies, but not students. This is a good move - I can't think of many students who've actually bought Office ("got it from a friend"). I've even seen quite a few students with enterprise versions!

Just remember, boys and girls, backup early and often (to external hardware devices) and be very careful what you put out in The Cloud (for everyone else to see).