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Microsoft To Make Office 365 ProPlus Free for Students

Microsoft is making Office 365 ProPlus — the edition of Office that includes the desktop applications — free for students beginning Dec. 1. The announcement was made at the Educause 2013 conference, taking place this week in Anaheim, CA.

Microsoft as made its Office 365 cloud-based suite free for education for about a year and a half now, but the ProPlus edition includes the full core suite of Office desktop applications — Word, Excel, and PowerPoint — in addition to the cloud productivity and collaboration tools (e-mail, document sharing, Web conferencing, Web site creation, cloud storage, calendaring, instant messaging, and the Web app versions of Word, OneNote, PowerPoint, and Excel).

Through the new Student Advantage program, institutions that license Office 365 will be able to provide the software to students at no additional charge.

According to Microsoft: "Beginning December 1, 2013, education institutions worldwide that license Office 365 ProPlus or Office Professional Plus for staff and faculty can provide access to Office 365 ProPlus for students at no additional cost. More than 35,000 institutions are automatically eligible to deliver the Student Advantage benefit to their students."

Students will be able to install the desktop components locally on up to five devices.

In addition to the new student offer, Microsoft also revealed the results of a jobs skills study conducted by IDC. According to the report, which reviewed 14.6 million job postings in 2013, Microsoft Office was the third most-required skill overall (out of more than 11,000 skills identified), with other Office-related skills making the top 20 as well.

"Students use Office every day for school work and activities that are most important to them. Office not only helps students stay organized and get their work done today but at the same time develops skills that will be required when they enter the work force. In fact, no other software or services show up in the top 20 most important skills identified in the research report," said Anthony Salcito, vice president of Worldwide Public Sector Education at Microsoft, in a prepared statement. "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."

According to Microsoft, Office 365 now has about 110 million users worldwide.

The Student Advantage program will kick in Dec. 1. Additional details are available on Microsoft's education portal.

About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at .

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