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

Get the Adobe Student & Teacher Editions Discount

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 maximum age limitation. They’re available pretty much worldwide in many languages on both Windows and Mac OS, 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 or paid work?

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 current all-inclusive offering which contains the entire “Master Collection” plus much more, essentially the latest-and-greatest versions of every major industry-leading tool that they make – there is also a Student & Teacher Edition available that costs only $19.99 a month (instead of $50) which means you’re getting it for less than half the regular price for your first year. 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 your status with a copy of your school ID card, transcript, report card, tuition bill, or other suitable document that’s dated within the last six months.  Or, if you just provide a school-issued email during purchase (like ending in “.edu”), then you will be instantly verified.
  • The traditional student editions cannot be upgraded to other (future) education editions – but they are entitled to receive Adobe’s discounted upgrade pricing to all regular commercial versions, -or- you can purchase another student edition if you still qualify.  However the student price on a newer release is often lower than the commercial upgrade price anyway, so you can just choose whichever is the least expensive option for you. Bottom line, this is another savings and benefit of having these editions.

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 for a limited time!

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. Maurice

    Do the teacher-student editions of PS work with Windows 7, 64-bit operating system?

  2. Helen

    What are the system requirements for Photoshop Elements 13 and Premiere Elements 13 for Mac?

    I have Mac OS X Version 10.7.5 with 2.93 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor, 4 GB 1067 MHz DDR3 Memory

  3. Chuen

    can I install more than one machine with the adobe teacher-student editions (e.g. laptop and desktop)?

  4. I am debating to buy a copy of the student or commercial license. I’ve read your minor limitation notes. The part about the upgrades. Will I continue to receive upgrades with version 5? However, if a new version, let’s say 6, comes out, I am not able to upgrade for free?

    If that is the case, the commercial version is no different as far as having to pay for an upgrade should a new version number becomes available.

    • Hello Ducsue, thanks for your question. Let’s try to put it a different way:

      — With the Creative Cloud and other Adobe subscription software (including the CC 2014 tools), all ongoing product upgrades are always included in the price and customers never pay extra.

      — With all other Adobe products (including CS6, Elements, Lightroom, Acrobat) that have traditional (perpetual) licensing, future upgrades are never included in the price and always cost extra… When upgrading these types of programs, you’ll get a discount off the full price of the new software – and the point in the article is saying that this discount will be the same whether you have a commercial or education version.

      So bottom line, if you have an education version then you’ll still receive the same upgrade pricing as anyone who has a standard commercial release. In a nutshell, the part about upgrades should make no difference for your decision.

      Note however that CS6 is the end of the line for Creative Suite and can still be purchased direct from Adobe however cannot be further upgraded (there is no CS7), and eventually Creative Suite 6 will be unsupported by the company.

  5. NewsView

    FYI: By all appearances, Adobe isn’t selling any student/teacher non-CC CS6 Suites anymore under their academic portal, just a few standalone apps like Photoshop, Acrobat and Lightroom. I can only find one Adobe-authorized third-party supplier, in fact, for a digital download of a student-teacher CS6 suite.

    Second, Natalie’s comment really has me concerned because it comes on the heels of a whole slew of anecdotal reports to the same effect (e.g. “Help! My legacy perpetually licensed software no longer works!”).
    Thus far the response from official channels is to assume, without fail, that the software itself is indeed suspect. Ethically, however, reports that non-CC software is becoming unusable should warrant an internal investigation (licensing database audit) at Adobe, if not also a journalistic inquiry into the matter.

    Most people who know any better do not want to chance illegitimate Ebay software. On the flip side, many Adobe software users don’t want to join the Creative Cloud, either, because their productivity or profit level doesn’t justify the cost. Stuck between a rock and a hard place, how to proceed becomes a toss-up. A perpetual license can work itself out, financially, over 5-10 years, whereas a perpetual subscription in the CC is only discounted for the first year, after which it goes up to pro-level pricing. If you are not a high-volume user or an institution with a constant need of the app, it doesn’t pay for itself, especially if you wish to use more than one CC app.

    Now factor in that Adobe has apparently dropped the CS6 “suite” editions from their EDU download offerings. I’m not saying it’s right, but I’m saying it like it is nonetheless: Adobe is going to drive a lot of people off the fence and into the arms of the hackers, crackers and scammers on Ebay, Amazon Marketplace and elsewhere where physical copies of non-supported Adobe software appear to be sold. Assuming this site is not merely an Adobe PR-arm, it would be nice to see a blog post that addresses the phenomena of “deactivated keys.”

    It makes sense that some, perhaps even most of these self-reporting holders of “dead keys”, are left with deactivated licenses because they purchased a counterfeit product. When Adobe deactivates a license key but does not explain why, as so many people in this particular circumstance report, that is when the matter becomes entirely suspect (and should be cause for a reasonable inquiry).

    Conceivably, Adobe can hide behind the counterfeit claim as a basis to deactivate ANY perpetual license. It will always come down to a consumers’ word against that of Adobe, and Adobe will ALWAYS win. We need to consider the possibility that just as Adobe’s toll-free customer support line terminates calls that are routed to ANY pre-cloud product, Adobe may very well be leaving their legacy product registration database largely unattended, in which case it would not be unexpected for the licensing validation servers to reject legacy products when they “phone home” following a hardware upgrade or a computer repair.

    At some point, it would be nice to see this blog investigate (or assist) a small number of users who CAN produce valid proofs-of-purchase years after the fact to see, if, their license keys have indeed been “mistakingly” deactivated. Right now the working assumption here and on the Adobe forums at large is, “If Adobe deactivated it, the can’t possibly have done so without good cause”. I am not alleging malfeasance on Adobe’s part, but the problems users have had re-activating old software they supposedly hold a perpetual license to could, in fact, be a case of neglect (there’s not even a phone menu option for registration issues).

    Adobe routinely works to remedy glitches that cause unwanted behaviors within software, often patching it to repair the error or malfunction. Who is to say they don’t have a licensing server issue (also software based!) that is similarly in need of a “patch” (audit), and that users of very old perpetually-licensed products may very well need to phone in to activate their legacy software and/or reset their serial keys because Adobe’s online activation no longer has the capacity to verify licenses that predate a certain release? Just as we consider the likelihood that those who experience “invalid serial” are attempting to use pirated software, oftentimes unknowingly, we must consider that Adobe, through neglect or complicity, has a vested interest in failing to maintain their perpetual license database because it forces people into the Creative Cloud upgrade path. I fully acknowledge that many users are victims of counterfeit keys but I also tend to think that if there at least SOME people who have had their keys wrongfully deactivated, that ought to be enough reason for the FTC or some such agency to investigate. It is NOT lawful to sell a consumer a genuine product, only to repossess it after the fact. If even some of these claims are true — that Adobe has deactivated valid keys — somebody’s got to give it a fair shake (either within Adobe or the media) and do a proper investigation.

    • That’s simply not true. All of the Creative Suite 6 products from 2012 are still available direct from the company. If you don’t want to purchase CC, then Adobe still sells all the same CS6 tools & suites direct for either student/teacher or for home/office… Nothing has changed there.

      And any claptrap conspiracy theories here are hogwash; please take them elsewhere. Adobe has been clear as to why software purchased from eBay is often invalidated even months later.

      Besides, third-party statistics plus Occam’s Razor give you the reason why much of the Adobe software purchased from eBay winds up invalidated: it is in fact because it’s actually bogus and should be avoided like the plague. End of story.

  6. NewsView

    @Marcus Schwing

    With 3D filters and functions, your graphics card may be too old to support the requirement (non OpenGL or too little VRAM). Adobe will gray out 3D options in CS6 if your VRAM is insufficient. I believe the minimum is 512, some older graphics cards come with just 256MB. In some cases there may be firmware updates that will enable better performance/compatibility. Check with the video card manufacturer.

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