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If you are an administrator for some academic institution and you would like to start using Office 365 you have probably hit a rock of lack of information anywhere.

In this article I will bring some clarity into this topic.

First what you need to do is to register a trial version of academic Office 365 and you will automatically get A5 licenses for 30 days. A5 is the most expensive license with some functions you won’t probably even use.

From my experience A1 license is more than enough for most schools, despite the fact it doesn’t include office desktop applications.

But schools usually have some version of Office desktop apps.

With the A5 trial version it is the same as with Office 365 for business - you can start creating users, migrating data and adding domains et cetera.

Close to the expiration date, you should check the Admin portal - Billing - Subscriptions -Aadd subscription if you have option to “buy” A1 license. If you do, you can just submit the order, you won’t pay anything if you take the A1.

However, if you don’t have the possibility to buy A1 license you have to create a ticket in Admin portal and ask to be transferred to billing. They will contact you asking for additional information about the institution and then grant you the option to buy A1 for free.

To summarize it, the whole process is mostly automated - register a trial version - get A5 license - start using it - in a meantime you are a verified as an academic institution - you either get or don’t get the possibility to “buy” the A1 licenses later on - if you don’t get it you just create a ticket - if you do get it you just switch from A5 to A1 by yourself simple as that.

More information about Academic licenses can be found here.

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