Interested in learning Fireworks? Adobe Dreamweaver? How about Adobe Photoshop? Or, if you are serious about being a creative web professional, how about the entire Adobe Creative Suite? You’ll either need thousands of dollars or the ability to learn it all during the free trial. And chances are, you can’t achieve either.
When it comes to essential proprietary software, such as Microsoft Office, Adobe CS5 and other expensive software, the costs can be nearly prohibitive, making it difficult to get started. Luckily, most major software developers offer deep discounts for academic or education purposes. For the vast majority of users who aren’t yet in a lucrative career that requires this software, the educator discounts are the only way to afford these programs. To be eligible for an education discount, you usually have to:
Be a Student at an Institution of Higher Learning
Students who are enrolled in college, trade school or a university are usually the users the student discount and education discount is geared towards. The easiest way to make this discounted software available to students is by selling it in the school’s book store. Alternately, you may be able to order it online directly from the software developer. To do this, you’ll usually have to have a valid email address ending in .edu.
Alternately, you can buy software at a student discount from retail stores, such as Staples or Office Max. This will usually be on the shelf along with the retail versions. However, in order to complete your sale, you may need to show a student ID at checkout. Additionally, many software developers require you to register your software online, by phone or by mail using your student ID.
Be a Teacher, Professor or Faculty Member in Any Grade Level
While K-12 students aren’t usually eligible for student discounts, teachers and faculty members at all grade levels can get educator discounts on most software. Educator discounts must usually be obtained through the school or teachers association, since most high schools and elementary schools do not have websites or emails with the .edu top level domain. Some programs, such as Apple’s education discount offerings, require your school to register with Apple. Ask your administrator to get in touch with the software distributor if your school does not appear in the software distributors list of approved institutions.
What if I’m not a student or teacher?
The education discount is strictly for students and teachers—in fact, it’s considered a breach of the usage agreement if you continue to use the software professionally or commercially after you graduate. As such, there are no legitimate ways to get an education discount if you are not using the software in an academic setting. That being said, software developers typically can’t tell if you are using an unauthorized student edition, and often, they don’t seem to care.
But if you don’t know any students or teachers who will lend you their .edu email address, there is one option for you: become a student. If you are serious about learning how to use a piece of software that is worth thousands of dollars, it makes perfect sense to enroll at a community college or take an online course to learn the ropes. Given that you can take a 3 semester hour course for just a few hundred dollars, you still actually come out ahead in the equation.