I get this question about Educational Software numerous times every semester from my students, even though it’s printed on the syllabus and we discuss it regularly. The second part of the conversation is always, “Really? Is it a full version or crippled or legal? Really?”
If you don’t know what I am talking about, then you are in for a nice treat. Just don’t ask me about it three times.
There are several companies that sell software at a huge discount to students and educators. The software packages that I buy are always at least half off, but it can range up to 90% off. The software is 100% full and legal versions, with the only difference being an occasional splash screen that may say “For Educational Use Only” when you launch the app. That’s it! They do everything the full software does – because they are the full software.
The next question is “Why why do they do it? It’s too good to be true, Dave!” Simple. As a student or educator, the software you learn at school is the software that you will prefer to use and continue to use throughout your career. They know you will recommend the software you already know and even get your employer to buy it. Besides, helping students is just a damn good thing to do, especially if you can make it less tempting to download pirated versions of software that are full of malware that love to crash in the middle of deadlines.
OK, now for the recommendations. I have used two companies for my software needs, but new players may be out there that you can investigate and price-shop. All of them will require simple proof of academic status, but that can be as simple as scanning your ID, emailing it, and being ready to order the next day. Be prepared to re-submit your data every year.
I have used JourneyEd the longest as they were the first ones I was made aware of. They have a huge selection and competitive pricing, but they really need to fix their almost-worthless search function and their verification process. It drives me crazy when I place an order and the confirmation message says, “If you have not ordered or provided proof of academic status in the last 12 months, please re-submit.” What?! I can’t remember if my last order was 9, 12, or 15 months ago! How about you guys with the gigantic database of products and clients look that up for me — and you tell me?! Thanks.
My new favorite is Studica. Their selection and price is is usually within a few percent of anyone else, but their search feature actually works and they let you know when to re-submit updated academic proof. The reason I check both sites is that they don’t always carry the exact same products.
A FINAL SOMEWHAT RELATED NOTE : When you go to any of these sites, you will see lots of hardware as well. Unless it’s on some crazy sale, don’t waste your time. In my experience, their hardware is the same price as anywhere else, or at best, 1-2% lower. You can get a better deal at Amazon or NewEgg, plus their free shipping will cost less that the educational guys.