Microsoft offers students free Office software

Photo Courtesy of Microsoft

Beginning Dec. 1, academic institutions can offer students Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus at no additional cost.

The software includes all basic Office suite programs, including Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Publisher, Access, Outlook, OneNote and InfoPath. To receive this offer academic institutions must already license Office 365 ProPlus or Office ProPlus for faculty and staff. Tech meets the aforementioned requirements.

“Tech is able to receive this Office 365 software,” said Rachel Moorehead, System Support Engineer Lead at Tech. “We are eligible to get that program for our students and we plan to do that. Tech just needed to be a partner with Microsoft in a fashion that already provided Office to our faculty and staff.”

Now, students can receive the benefits of Microsoft’s cloud-based Office 365 as well as the ability to download the software on up to five devices.

“There are no actions required on the students’ behalf right now to receive this software. Students can go to the Office 365 portal and get started that way. And all of the information is on the Office of Information Technology (OIT) FAQ page,” Moorehead said.

By offering students Office 365 at no additional cost, Microsoft hopes to make students’ skill sets more appealing to the current job market. In 2013, Microsoft sponsored an International Data Cooperation (IDC) study that concluded that U.S. high-growth, high-wage positions require Microsoft Office skills. After analyzing 14.6 million job postings, the IDC concluded that Office skills remain essential résumé components.

OIT predicts Tech students will take advantage of this offer.

“We will probably see a large adoption of this software. The bookstore currently sells Office to students at a discounted price, so this will take over this service,” Moorehead said.

Some Tech students are thrilled about this upcoming offer.

“I am really excited,” said Terynne Burgan, first year ISyE major. “I have been putting off purchasing the Office 365 software because of the cost, so now that it is free I will definitely take advantage of this offer.”

By making the Office 365 features readily available to students, Microsoft also seeks to keep its products relevant in the upcoming years.

Microsoft hopes students will continue to turn to its software when working on projects after college, as Office 365 software is used in various job fields.

“I use Office 365 extensively. I’m actually part of a private group that looks at Office 365 tools so that we will know what challenges and options Office presents going forward,” Moorehead said.

Tech is one of 35,000 institutions across the country eligible to offer students Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus for free. According to Microsoft, around 115 million students, faculty and staff use Office 365 software.