Many software companies like Microsoft, Quark, Corel, Sony and Adobe produce “education version” software that is specially priced with an “academic discount” available only for students, teachers and educational institutions. This software is essentially the same as the regular full versions although in some cases some of the non-essential commercial or business features may be removed. Eligible students and teachers (and sometimes even parents) can purchase these software titles at these academic discount prices provided they demonstrate eligibility.
K-12 students (and often their parents) and students, faculty and staff from degree granting colleges and universities are usually eligible for academic discounted software. Some software companies also allow non-profit, charitable organizations to take advantage of academic discounted software.
Because of the large discounts offered, proving one’s academic status is very important. The criteria varies by software manufacturer so be sure to check before you purchase. In general, though, it is common for software companies to require a school ID and/or some kind of photo ID. When purchased online from stores like Academic Superstore, usually the student’s school ID can be scanned and emailed or faxed to the retailer to document one’s eligibility for 12 months.
It is well worth searching for an academic discount for your software needs if you think you may qualify. As mentioned before, academic software discounts can be huge and provide hundreds of dollars in savings on a single software package. When I was a graduate student years ago I purchased from Academic Superstore and found them very reliable and quick. The savings I enjoyed there was incredible compared to the cost of full retail versions — sometimes amounting to more than a 75% discount. I also found their prices were better than the campus bookstore’s academic pricing.