How are you making it easier for my students, faculty, and staff to sign up for Office 365?

Students, faculty and staff who have valid school email addresses can sign up and use Office 365 services, including, in some cases, Office 365 ProPlus and OneDrive for Business. Microsoft will enable the capability for students, faculty and staff to sign up for Office 365 simply by using their school email addresses.

Office 365 A1 includes 1 terabyte (TB) of OneDrive for Business storage per user for school-related files, Office for the web, SharePoint Online and Yammer.

Some schools are eligible for Office 365 A1 Plus, which includes Office 365 ProPlus, and allows students, faculty and staff to install the latest version of Office on up to five PC or Mac computers* and on other mobile devices, including Windows tablets and the iPad.

*Access and Publisher are available on PCs only. OneNote for Mac is available as a separate download from the Mac App Store.

What are the eligibility requirements for students, faculty, and staff to receive Office 365 A1 Plus?

Schools qualify for Office 365 A1 Plus when they license Office institution-wide for faculty and staff through Enrollment for Education Solutions, Open Value Subscription Education Solutions, Cloud Solution Provider (CSP), or a school contract. After the school qualifies, all active full-time or part-time students, faculty, and staff are eligible and can get the plan directly from Microsoft at Office 365 Education if they meet all three of the following requirements:

  • They have a school-specific email address provided by the school (for example, that can receive external email.
  • They are of legal age to sign up for an online offer individually (13 years old).
  • They have Internet access.

What does this mean for my institution?

If your academic institution is enrolled to allow students, faculty, and staff to sign up directly with Microsoft, there are three scenarios that might apply for eligible students, faculty and staff who attend your institution:

  • Scenario 1: Your school already has an existing Office 365 environment with student accounts.    In this scenario, if a student, faculty or staff already has a work or school account in the tenant (for example, but does not yet have Office 365 A1 Plus, Microsoft will simply activate the plan for that account, and the student, faculty or staff will automatically be notified of the additional services, including the ability to download Office 365 ProPlus. If the student, faculty or staff already has an Office 365 A1 Plus account or any other Office 365 ProPlus license assigned through your school, they will be redirected to sign in with their existing credentials and receive a notification that includes an Install now prompt.
  • Scenario 2: Your school has an existing Office 365 environment without student accounts.    In this scenario, the student, faculty or staff does not yet have access to any Office 365 services. In this case, the student, faculty or staff can sign up at Office 365 Education and will automatically be given an account. This lets the student, faculty or staff access services included with Office 365 A1. For example, if a student named Sara uses her school email address (for example, to sign up, Microsoft will automatically add Sara as a user in the Office 365 environment and activate Office 365 A1 for that account. If Sara attends a school that is eligible for the student use benefit, she will be provided an Office 365 A1 Plus license which will allow her to install Office 365 ProPlus.
  • Scenario 3: Your school does not have an Office 365 environment connected to your email domain.    If Sara signs up for Office 365 A1 and her institution has not yet signed up for Office 365 services, Microsoft will create an Office 365 environment with that email domain, add Sara as a user, and automatically provide the services to her account. All subsequent users with that same email domain will be added to that environment, and the appropriate services will be provided. At any time in this scenario, the school’s IT department or domain admin can sign up for Office 365 A1 and start managing existing users and the service.

How does this impact my security and compliance?

With OneDrive for Business, as with all Office 365 services, the IT administrators stay in control. The Microsoft 365 admin center provides a single location from which administrators can manage all of the aspects of OneDrive for Business, including site collection and user profile management, configuring search and discovery, permissions management and reporting, and more. In addition to centralized control, admins can manage many aspects of users and content, including access management, storage allocation, and content sharing limitations.

Compliance management options include selective audits, e-Discovery, and current usage summaries that can be used to manage compliance and investigate any areas of concern. To learn more about managing security and compliance with OneDrive for Business, see OneDrive for Business.

What steps do we need to take to make this available to students, faculty, and staff?

There are no administrative actions your institution needs to take to enroll, in most countries. (In some countries, you'll need to opt in by following the steps below under Opt in steps required for some countries.) You can simply communicate the availability of Office 365 A1 or Office 365 A1 Plus to your students, faculty and staff by using content from the Office 365 Campus Marketing toolkit. The toolkit contains template emails, posters, web banners and more to help you increase awareness among students, faculty and staff. Contact your Microsoft representative with specific questions about the steps your school should take.

Important: If your institution has multiple email domains, you may want all email address extensions to be in the same tenant. To do this, before any students, faculty and staff sign up for Office 365 A1, create your primary Office 365 tenant and add all of your email address domains to that tenant. It's important to do this first, because there's no automated way to move users across tenants after they've been created.