Educational discounts for high schools and colleges have become commonplace in the technology industry, with Apple, Microsoft, and others consistently offering great deals for students and teachers. Microsoft is now expanding its own educational discounts to provide Office 365 free of charge to students.
Although Office 365 will technically be free -- schools that sign up for Office will be the only ones that actually receive the additional discount. Once the new discount takes hold on December 1, Microsoft will retroactively be offering it to more than 30,000 institutions around the world.
Microsoft’s new Student Advantage benefit will reach as many as 110 million students upon launch, based upon the company’s statistics. “We are thrilled to offer Student Advantage to schools across the globe so students have access to the latest, most up-to-date version of the world’s leading set of productivity tools in order to give them a competitive advantage when entering the workforce,” said Anthony Salcito, Microsoft’s VP of worldwide education.
The most basic version of Office 365 will be offered for free to students and faculty. Unless it's upgraded, the service provides cloud-based programs such as hosted e-mail and Office, as well as the usual complement of Office services. However, upgrades are available that expand the program’s offer but do cost a few dollars per student, with an additional cost for faculty.
Only an Expansion
Microsoft says that its new education-based program is meant to help younger students figure out how to use the Office tools so that they are ready for the workplace, when that time comes. Although Microsoft is currently expanding its discounts, it has had education discounts for quite some time, offering very similar services.
Apparently, these types of programs are even more important in the 21st century workplace than one might assume. IDC researchers completed a study and came to the conclusion that out of all the skills necessary for any number of jobs, being able to use Microsoft Office was the third most important. Knowing how to use Microsoft Office was beat only by communication skills and attention to detail.
Along with figuring out which skills are currently the most important, IDC looked at which skills will be necessary for the jobs of tomorrow. By examining the skills necessary in the 60 fastest growing sectors, IDC found that being able to communicate and present (core benefits of the Office suite) were necessary in 39 percent of the jobs.
While it is obviously not necessary to master Powerpoint or Word before entering the workforce for all fields, being able to use these Office applications is definitely important when trying to work for high-tech and office-based companies.
Posted: 2013-10-25 @ 12:50pm PT
Great article, very excited about this decision by MSFT. One added comment on the article would have been explaining the Academic service packages within O365 (A2, A3, Archiving, SaaS, monthly subscriptions, etc.).