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Microsoft Unveils Long-Term Academic Licensing Option

Microsoft today announced that it is launching a new long-term subscription licensing program for academic institutions.

The program, dubbed "Microsoft Enrollment for Education Solutions" or EES, offers "reduced entry requirements," with licensing based on an annual headcount rather than the number of devices running Microsoft's software. The EES program is open to both K-12 and higher ed institutions.

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 institutions 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 the Live@edu service at no charge. Live@edu is Microsoft's hosted communication and collaboration suite for education, which includes Office Web Apps and mail service (with 10 GB in-boxes for each user). Other features of Live@edu are 25 GB of storage per user, video chat, instant messaging, 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."

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. The school system purchased a "districtwide site license for all 30,000 PCs that will allow us to upgrade to Windows 7 and Office 2010," MNOS CIO John Williams said in a statement released on Thursday.

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

Dave Nagel is the executive editor for 1105 Media's educational technology online publications and electronic newsletters.

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