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Microsoft Opens Long-Term Licensing to Academic Institutions

Microsoft is launching a new long-term subscription licensing program for academic institutions. Dubbed "Microsoft Enrollment for Education Solutions," the program offers "reduced entry requirements" and is based on an annual head count rather than the number of devices. The EES program is open to both K-12 and higher ed.

The program creates a single, subscription-based academic agreement for Microsoft Enterprise software, which includes Office Professional 2010, Windows 7 Enterprise, the Core Client Access License suite, and the Enterprise CAL suite.

According to Microsoft, with EES, "small schools that have historically not been able to acquire subscription licenses are now able to access Microsoft software and services at a low cost in order to help students interact, collaborate and learn." Institutions can pay for the service annually or via a three-year enrollment.

The new program works by counting full-time equivalent employees once per year to maintain compliance. Staff members who are added throughout the year are "automatically fully licensed," Microsoft indicated, "so administrators only need to verify these licenses annually. Institutions are therefore fully covered for desktop platform products regardless of yearly fluctuations in the number of employees or devices."

Under the program, institutions with as few as five employees can obtain licenses through a Microsoft education reseller under the Open Value Subscription Agreement for Education Solutions; those with 1,000 or more FTE employees can obtain licenses from a Microsoft Large Account reseller under the Campus and School Agreement.

Student licensing is available for both institution-owned and student-owned devices, and participating schools receive access to Live@edu at no charge. Live@edu is Microsoft's hosted communication and collaboration suite for education. It includes Office Web Apps; mail (with 10 GB inboxes for each user); 25 GB storage per user; video chat; IM; alerts; blogs; and various collaboration and document sharing services.

Some K-12 customers have said they're already seeing savings from the new licensing. With 60,000 students and 7,500 faculty and staff, Texas' Katy Independent School District is anticipating "saving $350,000 year over year," according to CIO Lenny Schad, who added the district "will also be adopting some of Microsoft’s security, virtualization, and management tools that will allow us to eliminate duplicate costs and services from another vendor."

"My biggest concern was impact to the classroom. This new licensing agreement keeps us on the path of always having the latest and greatest technology to make sure our kids are prepared for college and the workplace," Schad said in a prepared statement.

Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, with 78,000 students and 9,500 faculty and staff, reported it will see $100,000 in savings in the first year under the new licensing plan.

"Our new Microsoft agreement is helping us consolidate and control costs and make sure everyone is compliant and using the same software," MNOS CIO John Williams said in a statement released Thursday. "We were able to purchase a districtwide site license for all 30,000 PCs that will allow us to upgrade to Windows 7 and Office 2010 and provide the platform and training we need to build out more innovative collaboration solutions that will bring transformational improvements to the district."

Microsoft Enrollment for Education Solutions is open to qualified public and private academic institutions, including K-12 schools, preschools, vocational schools, junior colleges, colleges, and universities. Administrative offices and boards of education may also qualify. Further information can be found here.

About the Author

David Nagel is editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Technology Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal and STEAM Universe. A 25-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at or follow him on Twitter at @THEJournalDave (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education).

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