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Academic Training Revamped

Microsoft no longer offers the Authorized Academic Training Provider (AATP) program as of this year; company replaces it with the Microsoft IT Academy.

Starting at the beginning of this year, Microsoft no longer offers the Authorized Academic Training Provider (AATP) program. It's been replaced by the Microsoft IT Academy. Although the concept is the same—to train students in an academic setting on Microsoft technologies—at least one instructor believes the coming changes will force many schools to discontinue their official affiliations with Microsoft.

Under the new structure, the fee has gone from free to $5,000 per school at the post-secondary level (colleges, universities and trade schools) and $1,500 per school at the high school level. (High schools may also choose to pay the higher fee in exchange for a higher level of benefits.) Schools with more than a single physical location must pay a fee for each site where the program is in effect.

"The unfortunate thing is that a lot of schools aren't going to [continue their affiliation] because of the money," said Michael Rodgers, an MCT who has taught for Dyersburg State Community College and Jackson State Community College, both in Tennessee. Rodgers says that Dyersburg State has already dropped out of the program and he's unsure about what Jackson State will decide. He predicts that fewer than half of schools that joined the AATP program will continue to participate.

At the college level, the program requires that the courses be delivered by instructors who have passed the corresponding certification exam. The high school version only requires the teacher to pass the test before giving the class a second time.

Rules specify that participating schools offer classes that last no longer than 12 hours per week, including lab time.

Rodgers says that Dyersburg State will continue teaching its Microsoft-oriented classes. "However, when we market ourselves, we can't use the word 'Microsoft' in our title. No more saying, 'Hey, come take our MCSE program.'"

Details are at www.microsoft.com/education/msitacademy.

About the Author

Dian L. Schaffhauser is a freelance writer based in Northern California.

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