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What Are the Limitations of the Adobe Student & Teacher Versions?

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The Adobe Student and Teacher Editions look like a great deal. They offer big discounts, as much as 70% off normal prices. They’re available for most of Adobe’s most popular products, including the Creative Cloud (CC), Creative Suite 6, Lightroom 5, Acrobat XI, and Elements 13.  They can be purchased by anyone who qualifies – primary, middle, and secondary school students, homeschoolers, college or university students, faculty, teachers, and administrators.  Even part-time students or teachers can be eligible, and there is no age limitation. They’re available pretty much worldwide in many languages on both Windows and Mac, and you don’t need any kind of coupon or promotion code to get the deep discounts.

So what’s the catch? Is the Academic software different or limited somehow? Is there any sort of time restriction, time limit, or time out – do the perpetual Adobe Student Editions expire? Or are they unusable for commercial purposes?

The answer to all of these questions is fortunately no: the Education products are identical in features and functionality in every respect to their standard counterparts – the only differ­ences are the prices and some of the licensing terms… The prices, as mentioned, can be a real bargain – for example, instead of US$999 for 2012’s Photoshop CS6 Extended, the price is only $349; instead of $1,899 for CS6 Design & Web Premium (the popular suite containing seven creative tools including Photoshop CS6 Extended), you get it for $599.

And for the Creative Cloud – Adobe’s newest all-inclusive offering which contains the entire Master Collection plus much more, essentially every major industry-leading tool that they make – there is also a Student & Teacher Edition available that costs only $25 a month (instead of $50) which means you’re getting it for half the regular price. So this CC option becomes more affordable for students than the traditional educational versions, plus you get to use every­thing based on an annual membership that includes ongoing upgrades.

Related: Which option is right for you? Compare Adobe CS6 vs. Creative Cloud

So What’s Different with the Adobe Education Versions?

Since Creative Suite 5, all Student and Teacher Editions can be utilized for personal as well as commercial use, for all academic customers worldwide. So yes, you can sell your services or anything you create, or use these products in developing a side business or online venture. And after graduation or completion of coursework, you can continue to use any perpetual software on your personal systems; there is no usage expiration and those tools will continue to work.

Generally speaking, you can also install the student/teacher versions on up to two computers (desktops and laptops), and move the software between different machines when necessary.

But it’s true there are some limitations as compared to the regular versions… though happily they are all fairly minor.  Here are the notable differences between the education editions vs. the normal (professional/commercial) versions:

  • Each eligible person may purchase only one copy of each academic product per platform per year.  Fortunately, each tool and suite and release are considered different products.  So Photoshop and Dreamweaver (for example) are different titles, as are CS6 and CC, and each suite is a different title, so you could buy these all within one year if you wanted.
  • Student & Teacher Edition software may be used on your privately-owned computer only.
  • This software is not transferrable, meaning it may not be resold or given to others.
  • You validate eligibility after placing your order to receive your unique serial number key.
  • The traditional student editions cannot be upgraded to other education editions – but do receive Adobe’s discounted upgrade pricing to all regular commercial versions, -or- you can purchase another student edition if you still qualify.  But the student price on a new release can be lower than the commercial upgrade price anyway, so you can just choose which is less expensive for you…  Bottom line, this is another substantial savings and advantage of owning these editions – basically you will be getting your future releases discounted as well.

So why take your chances on the risks and malware in a pirated or bootleg version when you can do the right thing instead and get the real deal – legitimate, supported, and completely safe – for up to 70% off, direct via instant download from Adobe?

Special: Legally download dozens of free Adobe books – or win our new CC 2014 Giveaway!

Finally, here’s a very helpful Student & Teacher Eligibility Guide & FAQ that should answer all other questions you may have, including documentation requirements…  Importantly, note that any verification documents dated within the last six months are considered current.

See Also

Download New Adobe CC 2014 Free Trials (Direct Links)

Do you have any questions about Adobe’s Student & Teacher Editions?  Just ask them below and we’ll get you answers fast!

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  1. Maryam


    If I had CS5.5 edition and I upgraded to CS6, would I not be able to use the CS5.5 anymore? Even if I had a CD of it?

  2. Stephen


    I want to purchase a standalone copy of Photoshop CS6 for my daughter, but she would be using it on a machine that has no internet connection – does the program require Internet connection for validation?


  3. Shyam Sakha das

    I have a laptop and computer, both private. If I purchase Student Teacher edition can I install it on both my laptop and computer?

    If not, do you suggest I install it on my laptop (more mobile) or computer (much more powerful)


  4. Shyam Sakha das

    Thank you for getting back to me, active forums are always VERY helpful. Do you happen to have a link whereby I could download a trial version of the CS6 student/teacher edition please?

    A last question is, I’m coming from the U.K.. . I saw there were specific U.S. Uni student requirements, but are there any for people from the U.K. or can we just pay, download and get down to using it straight away?

  5. Hector

    I am looking to purchase the Production Premium package and saw that it was $2000. So I have a few questions. My girlfriend is a student at Rowan and I was wondering if I had her purchase the software for me will she have to register it since she is the student, or once she purchased it will I be able to register it under my name? Secondly I already own a legit version of PS CS6 which I purchased last year for about $500. With the Production Premium coming with PS Extended, will I be able to upgrade my legacy version of PS CS6 with the student version of PS CS6 Extended? Will there be any restriction with the student version that I will not be able to access without my girlfriend’s student info or will I have full control of the software?

    • Sorry Hector – as mentioned in the article above, all Adobe education software is for purchase and sole use by the student/teacher, requires academic validation, and is non-transferrable either via sale or gift.

      Individual products within a suite are also not eligible for transfer, for either education or commercial products.

  6. Terry

    What would some examples be of academic validation?

  7. Alison

    Student and teacher versions of Adobe CS6 are being offered on Ebay. Are these genuine? Can they be used by anybody? Even though I do teach I am mostly out of work since the financial recession so cannot take out a full-price subscription to CS6, as it would cost more than I earn. Thanks for any help you can give.

  8. Donna

    Question: Read all the questions above and had one question that I don’t believe was answered. My husband is a student and is looking at purchasing Adobe software. We have been having issues with hard drives crashing (even new ones). If he purchases the software, and AFTER he has finished with his education, the hard drive should crash, would he be able to reinstall the software if he is no longer a student (of course we would be speaking of the same computer)?

    Asking because even at a discount price, some of the packages are still expensive and I we wanted to be sure there is not a chance he could get stuck with software that he would not be able to reinstall should something happen.

  9. Alexandra Marie

    Thank you so much for this article, soo helpful! Alex

  10. Jupiter


    So I have the student edition of CS5. I got it as part of an online course I am taking for becoming a games artist. My question is, Can I use the art I create for games and make money from them? Commercially speaking with no fear of being in breach of any T&C?

    See, I have been using it for a while now, making various pieces of art for student and course related games for no profit – but would like to consider the prospect of making money from using it and the artwork I create. Is this possible?

    • Yes, definitely… Absolutely, positively. It is no problem at all – provided the software is not transferred to anyone else, and is used on your privately-owned computer only (as mentioned in the article).

  11. Fiona


    I currently have the Adobe Creative Suite 5 Design Premium Student & Teacher Edition purchased in 2011, is it able to be upgraded to Student Edition of Creative Suite 6?

    If do you know where this option to purchase is? Have been searching for an option for last couple of hours : (

    Thank you in advance for your time!

  12. John

    Hi, I am a retired teacher receiving a pension. Do I qualify for a teacher discount?

  13. Samantha


    I was wondering if there’s any way to still order a hard copy of the software from Adobe. When I tried to purchase it outright from the site, it only gave “download” as a delivery option. The computer that I’d like to install it on doesn’t have an internet connection.

  14. Rachel

    Hi, I am thinking of purchasing this software for my daughter but can’t seem to find this information anywhere and cannot get through to anyone on the phone;

    1. What happens after paying the monthly price for 1 year, do we then own the software or do we have to continue paying the monthly fee?

    2. If we had to carry on paying the monthly fee and decided to cancel (after 1 year) what is the cancellation period? would the software then not work, or would we just not get the updates?

    Many Thanks

    • Hey there Rachel, Adobe CC does not have a “rent-to-own” type of option – it is fully subscription-based access.

      So in other words, that means that if you stopped your membership then your applications would no longer run. Your files would remain yours.

      For question 2, you’ll find Adobe’s rules on cancellations here.

      If you’re interested in software that you purchase or own outright in the previous manner, then Adobe is still selling CS6 here – but keep in mind that it generally has a much higher upfront cost, it’s two years old now, and may not be supported on future operating system versions from Microsoft or Apple.

  15. John

    Hello…On Ebay someone is selling copies of Academic versions of CS6 that already have activation key. Is this legal to sell and purchase if you’re not a teacher or student. Thanks

  16. Mike

    Hi there

    I am at this moment in time downloading the CS6 Photoshop. Well I think I am.

    I noticed the student discount section and I was interested to know, can I qualify as I am in the process of doing a course with GoSkills on-line?

    If this is ok, can you please explain where and how to go about it and how much it would cost?

    I intend to expand my studies further once this series of units are complete.

    I much appreciate your time in this matter and look forward to hearing from you in the near future.

    Cheers Mike

    • Hi Mike, it depends on whether the school you’re taking classes from is accredited or offers some sort of diploma/degree or full-time instruction, and/or the proof you can provide of your enrollment… Homeschooled students can also be eligible.

      Plus some good news: Recently Adobe has added a fast “shortcut” to the qualification process for education discounts – and that is if you can provide them a school-issued email address (like ending in “.edu” or “.k12″) then you will be instantly verified! This goes for students, teachers, and staff.

      For more details, see this Student & Teacher Eligibility Guide & FAQ for all the answers.

  17. Edward wong

    I am a 13 year old student, I live in Malaysia and I have question to ask:

    I want to get the complete pack for students with education discount, but will the school get the verification stuff?

    In other words, if I buy the student complete edition, will the school recieve a email?

    • Greetings Edward – no, the school typically is not contacted. Instead, you provide the proof yourself for being a student. Here is a list of the different things that Adobe accepts for eligibility.

      But as mentioned in the comment just above yours, Adobe has made it even simpler – now all you really need is just to show them that you have a school-issued email address like ending in “.edu” or “.k12″ and then you will be instantly verified for the student/teacher discount pricing.

      However, even if you don’t have an address like that, you can still prove your academic eligibility by emailing/sending them a copy of your student ID or tuition bill or school transcript, etc.

  18. natalie

    Help :D

    I qualify as faculty / downloaded and installed CS6 to my personal laptop 2 years ago – I’ve recently been receiving (10/01/14) pop up windows promoting I sign up for the cloud – and I’ve dismissed – a new pop up yesterday tells me my CS6 Master suite ‘trial’ will expire in 3 days if I don’t purchase the software?!?! It appears Adobe have changed the status from installed / licensed software on my laptop to ‘trial’ software – AFTER 2 years – and more worryingly so – they can do this / remotely? Confused I inquired with Adobe chat – they couldn’t advise status because I could not produce an order number for obvious reason – and I couldn’t advise the serial number upon launching of Illustrator because it has vanished from the welcome page and the Welcome page has also changed status to ‘trial’…

    So I checked with the University and sure enough the licensed software I downloaded has been ‘deactivated’ according to Adobe’s ‘official’ response to the university – and so now the art institution are forced to join the ‘cloud’ and have done so… I have managed to join the cloud at the university’s expense for 12 months. Beyond that I don’t know what to do – there are no disk versions of CS6 to purchase and install or if there are (at well-inflated prices on Amazon) and if I do at the discounted faculty rate as qualified – then move abroad which is possible – I will NOT BE ABLE TO USE purchased software outside of the country I’m qualified to teach in – which is currently the US… So I’m looking at earlier versions as back up rather than be forced to subscribe to the cloud in future. Pretty poor Adobe – I think it makes sense for the cloud to be an ‘option’ – not ENFORCED for future upgrades – instead of changing the rules especially on historically installed CS6 software!!!!!!

    If you can confirm the above based on the below – I’ll really appreciate clarification – I don’t know what software investment decisions to make now for future use to access my AI files – I just know I don’t wish to be forced to join the cloud if I can purchase a boxed perpetual license (disk) of CS5.5 / CS6 now

    From the latest Adobe General Terms of Use:

    (c) Education Version. If we designate the Software or Service as for use by educational users (“Educational Version”), then you may only use the Educational Version if you meet the eligibility requirements stated at You may install and use Educational Version only in the country where you are qualified as an educational user. If you reside in the European Economic Area, then the word “country” in the sentence preceding this one means the European Economic Area.

    • Sorry Natalie, that sounds quite unusual but we can’t speak to whatever specific terms your institution negotiated in their volume contract with Adobe… All we can say is that for individuals purchasing CS6, what you described will never happen!

      What we can also tell you is that you should never – repeat never – try to buy old Adobe CS releases from Amazon, eBay, or the like… It is highly dangerous.

      If you’re thinking you still want the last perpetual version like CS6 (instead of getting CC 2014), then we have three further points to add:

      1. We wrote a complete guide to deciding on which one to get, as well as a helpful point-by-point comparison chart.

      2. You may not have been aware, but Adobe DOES still sell CS6 directly, and that is the ONLY place you should get it… For how to buy it, home/office customers look here, or education student/teacher customers right here.

      3. Practically speaking, in over seven years of doing this we’ve never heard of anyone not being able to use their academic-qualified Adobe software when traveling abroad to another country or moving/living overseas.

      Hope that helps!

  19. Ashley


    When I was in school, my school accidentally sent me two copies of Adobe Photoshop CS3 Extended (for Windows – the Education version).

    I no longer have a Windows computer and don’t have a need for it now that I have CS5 so I was wondering if I could resell it, but according to your article it looks like I can’t. Is this the case? If so, what are my options? I hate to just have it lying around when someone could use it.


    • Welcome Ashley, thanks for your comment. Sorry, per Adobe’s rules (and also spelled out in the product license agreement), the academic or student & teacher editions are not transferable…

      The reason is because these versions are only usable by education customers who the company has deemed eligible to receive the substantial discounts.

      Think about it like this: If that wasn’t the way it worked, then a student could buy discounted software and resell it to someone who wasn’t officially eligible to get that pricing, opening the door to potential abuse.

  20. Paul

    I am a student who wants to use Adobe CC to create videos for paying clients. Does the student version allow this type of work?

    Thank you for any information!

    • Hi Paul, thanks for your question. Yes, you should be able to use them for profes­sional or commercial work – here’s what the company says:

      “The CC and CS6 Student and Teacher Edition versions can be used commercially on your privately-owned computer. However, they may not be resold…”

      For more details, please see Adobe’s excellent Education Edition FAQ.

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