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The Creative Cloud 2021 Student/Teacher Editions: How to Save 70%

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Let’s face it, Adobe’s traditional product prices seemed expensive over the years, espe­cially if you’re on a student’s budget. The last perpetual version available, Creative Suite 6 from 2012, historically had full prices ranging from $399 for Dream­weaver through $999 for Photoshop Extended and on up to $2,599 upfront for the Master Collection suite, which contained all CS6 applications. As cool and powerful as this software was, it’s hard to afford when you’re in school – even after the student/teacher discount.

Adobe stopped selling CS6 four years ago, as the version reached EOL and end of support – but fortunately the company still offers deep discounts for education customers on the latest Creative Cloud release. Several years ago, in fact, they increased the discount on Creative Cloud to up to 70% off the regular prices. And while there are a lot of misconcep­tions about CC, the main products like Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Premiere, etc., still download and run on your desktop as normal.

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So if you want it all – and all in one complete package – then Adobe offers full Creative Cloud member­ship at a 60-70% discount for students and teachers (at just $19.99 or £16.24 or €19,50 or A$21.99 a month for your first year, or less than $1/day)… This gives you the entire “Master Suite” and much more – essen­tially, the new 2021 versions of all the latest and greatest products that Adobe makes, with thousands of new features and improvements compared to CS6 – plus ongoing upgrades included at no additional cost, so your tools are always up to date with current technology and innovations.

Adobe only offers an education discount on the Creative Cloud “All Apps” subscription – meaning you get all CC tools and services for one (reduced) price. A single CC tool could instead be purchased by itself via a Single-App Subscription – but there is no academic discount on that plan, so that could actually work out to be more expensive than just getting everything for a student or teacher.

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How to Get the Student/Teacher Discount

All of this software is available via instant download at the Adobe Education Store for both Windows and macOS. Adobe’s education discounts are available internationally as well – in many other countries and currencies (for example, Europe/euro, UK/pound, Australia/dollar), where the percentage reductions are similar.

To get these lower prices, essentially all you have to do is prove your academic status at a qualified school. Most students and teachers of most grades and institutions can qualify, from primary school through university levels.  Importantly, even part-time students or folks who enroll for a class at their local community college can be eligible – there is no upper age limit. Online colleges are on Adobe’s list too, and there is also a path for homeschoolers.  If you think about it, sometimes going back to school could even pay for itself in such situations.

Get New Creative Cloud 2021 for US$19.99/Month - Save 60% Off the Regular Price

You can validate your status with proof of enrollment such as your school ID card, report card, transcript, tuition bill or statement, etc.  Any documents dated within the last six months are considered current for these purposes. The verification all happens online so takes only 1-2 days.  In the mean­time, you’ll be able to easily download and install your products as a fully-functional free trials to get going right away, start learning with free tutorials, and so on.

Recently Adobe added an even simpler option – now if you just provide a school-issued email address during purchase (like ending in “.edu” or “.k12”), then your institutional affiliation will be instantly verified and you’ll automat­ically receive the student & teacher discount pricing.

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The academic editions work the same as the regular versions – and you can continue to use the same products after you graduate, or after whenever you leave your current school or term of study. You can also use this software for commercial purposes or paid projects if you so desire. However there remain some differences between the two with limitations of the education versions that are important to know and understand.

You can install the software on up to two computers, and if for some reason you change your mind after buying, you can easily return the product within 14 days of purchase to Adobe.

Get it now

A Word on Software Piracy – “If It Sounds Too Good To Be True…”

Some folks think they might be able to do better by trying to find and download Adobe software for free or cheap using torrents, cracks, key makers, keygens, untrusted sources, unfamiliar sellers, old or used versions, no-name websites, auction sites, links posted on Reddit, and so on.  The first thing to say is any electronic download or serial number delivery from anywhere besides Adobe is inauthentic, so it’s illegal. The second thing is that it’s very risky – but not only because it’s illegal…

Increasingly, the desire to save money on software by getting it from sources or sites you’ve never heard of leads to identity theft, credit card fraud, virus infections, email spamming, and more. A great deal of the hacked and illegitimate Adobe software out there now is embedded with malware. This malware includes viruses, worms, and trojans that can do significant harm to your computer, data, and privacy (like quietly taking your sensitive information such as logins, passwords, and credit card numbers). And now there is new ransomware that can hold your entire hard disk hostage with no fix available.

Cracked and hacked copies are easily manipulated and infected. For example, the Asia-Pacific region has a very high piracy rate of 60%, and correspondingly the highest rate of infection in the world – nearly 70% of the computers in these countries are riddled with malware. There is a direct correlation.

Fake/Hacked Software –> Unsafe Computer, Lost Money, Stolen Information, or Worse

In other words, the hackers that create and distribute these “free” or “cheap” copies are receiving payback in other ways (e.g., silent backdoors) – meaning in the end, you can do far worse damage to your computer and yourself than to Adobe. Why install unknown and untrusted software onto your valuable system? Why give a stranger control of your machine, or your financial credentials?

Further, the agencies have really been cracking down on download theft in recent years – in one case, the authorities were able to obtain the locations and contact information on 23,000 illegal BitTorrent users and the fines paid are $3,000 per download!

Lastly, stay away from deals or “bargains” on eBay or Craigslist, or any seller you’ve never heard of (including on Amazon Marketplace), or anything that seems too good to be true – because it probably is… there are authentic-looking fakes everywhere.  Reputation means everything in this area – because you don’t want to end up in regret, like so many there do, after their money has left their hands permanently and the software or their computer has stopped working.

Read more details on why you shouldn’t buy from eBay, Craigslist, or Amazon Marketplace.

So all in all, it’s not something for nothing – and really the only sensible and safe choice is getting the real deal straight from Adobe at up to 70% off the regular prices.

Here’s a helpful Adobe Education Eligibility Guide & FAQ that should answer any other questions you may have…

See Also

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150 thoughts on “The Creative Cloud 2021 Student/Teacher Editions: How to Save 70%”

  1. thanks for this, very helpful
    one question i had was do the adobe student editions receive full service and support, or something reduced ?

    • Hi Ronnie, thank you for your question – and yes, all of the education versions definitely do receive full customer service and technical support, just like the regular versions.

  2. Hi!
    I purchased Production Premium CS5 educational version recently, and Adobe then said I can get a free upgrade to cs5.5.

    I now have the cs5.5 box, unopened. Can a non-educational version install straight over an educational version?

    The box says “Upgrade Version” and to visit to confirm my eligibility.

    The site says I must have Production Premium CS5 installed. I do, but I have an educational version.

    Can it work?

  3. What is the difference between CS5.5 Master Collection Student & Teacher Edition and the regular CS5.5 Master Collection Academic Edition?

    I see they have different prices, and noticed that the Academic Edition is cheaper. Does this mean it is more restrictive? Will there be output restrictions or watermarks? Can it be upgraded to a commercial license for future releases? Can it be used for commercial purposes?


    • Greetings Miguel, it’s usually the other way around – the Student & Teacher Editions are typically less expensive than the others… for example here, where the Photoshop CS5 Extended Student & Teacher Edition is $199 (80% off the regular price), whereas the Education version is $299.

      As far as we are aware, the former are for students and teachers to buy for use on their own private computers, whereas the latter are for use on college-owned computers, or for where the buyer doesn’t otherwise qualify for the STE.

      For all of your other questions generally, please see this article and that should answer them:

      What are the Restrictions of the Adobe CS5.5 Student Editions?

  4. @ProDesignTools
    Yeah, I assumed that the Student and Teacher Editions were cheaper as well but this one is over $200 cheaper for some reason. And on the product page, it states:

    “This Academic edition has the same features and capabilities of the retail version, and is shipped to you in a factory sealed retail box. However, this version is able to be sold below the retail price because of an educational discount.”

    As I check the “Are you Eligible?” part of the product page, it clearly shows that only students and faculty are eligible and NOT schools so I don’t think it’s the one for college-owned computers. Also, when I go to the “Do I qualify?” link, there is a mention of:

    “See if your school offers the lowest prices available for Adobe or Microsoft

    Some schools with volume licensing agreements offer an extra discount for their students, teachers, faculty and staff.

    Complete the form to see if your school qualifies”

    Could this lower price be only for students who attend certain schools who have an agreement with Adobe? It won’t even let you put the suite into the shopping cart until you choose your school (if it even qualifies) so there appears to be something special about it while Student/Teacher Edition doesn’t have the qualification link to prohibit addition to the shopping cart.

    I would love to get Master Collection for 77% ($599.99) off versus the usual 67% ($859.99) off but I don’t want to buy it and then find out it has restrictions that Student/Teacher does not. I’d hate to have to be stuck with that edition when I could have had a better one with less restrictions in the long run.

    Unfortunately, everywhere I look, I only see FAQs that address the Student/Teacher Editions and not the other Academic Edition that I’m looking at.

    • Well Miguel, it looks like you have it figured out. There may be cases where someone could get the education software a bit cheaper through their institution if they happen to have a reseller relationship and offer the application you want. However, as you discovered there are limitations on buying it and it’s not as straightforward to get. There may be other restrictions involved but we can’t speak to those, as there is precious little documentation on the subject so it’s uncertain.

      Adobe’s Student & Teacher editions are easy in that you purchase the software online and then complete a brief eligibility validation to have your serial number emailed directly to you. In the meanwhile you can either download the software or get the box shipped to you, or both. The process is simple, the differences are well-understood, and it’s what most folks do.

      Hope this helps!

  5. Thanks. The additional discount is appealing but I think I’ll just get the Student/Teacher Edition to be on the safe side. Would hate to be locked out of buying the right one because I was trying to save a bit extra.

    Again, thanks for the help!

  6. hi, i downloaded cs5.5 master collection from here, installed it, and when i click on the run up program, after getting to 50% extracted, it said i have not enough space and i should add privilege stuff to the folder i’m saving, now i have 63gig space in the place i’m saving it and the folder is a normal folder (i think), but every time it keeps coming up with that, please help, and oh im running windows 7 home premium :)

    • Hey there Josh, sometimes that happens with Adobe software when the disk you are installing to is different from the disk where you stored the downloaded files…

      Try moving your files to the same disk drive you’d like to install the product to, and see if that helps – thanks.

  7. hi, I have a macbook and an imac and was wondering can I install the adobe student version on both machines, as I would do most of my work on the imac but I need the macbook for college so I will also need cs5.5 on that.


    • Hi, you’re going to have a very challenging time finding a safe and legitimate copy of that… CS3 is nearly five years old now, and Adobe hasn’t sold it since 2008.

      Your best bet is really to go with Creative Suite 5 if you can, for 80% off… Double-check your computer against the CS5.5 system requirements to be sure. If you try any older version, you’re liable to run into the risks outlined at the bottom of the article above.

  8. Hey great info, really appreciate but ? for u.. My husband is a welding instructor at a technical college, u think we could still get discount??

    Really wanting to get cs5.5 but can’t afford it.. It will be my first photoshop ever lol

  9. Hello, I have a CS 4 Master Collection for Windows XP, Academic Edition.

    Is it possible to purchase an upgrade to CS 5.5 Master Collection?

  10. Can a person get an Student & Teacher version of CS5.5 Design Premium if they are enrolled in one class that finishes a Master’s degree that was begun several years earlier?

  11. We have the academic version of CS 5 for my daughter to use. She needs to upgrade just InDesign. Can she buy the regular non-academic InDesign CS 5.5 upgrade and install that? There is no way to upgrade just InDesign in the Academic version, and we cannot really spend the $299 to upgrade the entire suite (plus she does not use the other items all that much).

  12. I am a home schooling parent and am looking to start my children on learning web design. This article is a great help.

    On the Adobe page, they are asking for proof of purchase of curriculum. Do you know if they accept using the free curriculums on Adobe Educator Exchange (, or do I need to purchase one separately?

    If I do need to purchase one, do you have any recommendations? Thanks for any help!

    • Great question Will, but we’re unsure whether you’d need that. The purchase of curriculum seems to be one of the possible types of proof which would be sufficient, but you may be able to provide other types

      If it’s still uncertain, your best bet would be to just contact Adobe directly and inquire what exactly they would need from you as a homeschooler to get the 80%-off student & teacher discounts.

    • We definitely don’t recommend that Robert, as Adobe’s pretty good about checking – and anyway there’s no need… It’s honest and far simpler to just enroll for a good class at your local community or technical college and then become a student again that way if you aren’t already one.

      If your school meets the necessary criteria (most do), then you would likely be eligible to purchase the discounted student edition software from Adobe.

  13. Hello,

    I am just a little worried about the Adobe Photoshop CS5 Student/Teacher edition I just bought. My understanding is that a parent of a K-12 student can be eligible for the product; but my son is 12 and is in elementary school. I can’t seem to get Adobe to email me back and I don’t want to open the box until I make sure. I can’t seem to find the answer to my question anywhere on the net.

    Thanks so much!

    • Hey there Mandy, it sounds like your son should be eligible and normally you shouldn’t have any problem. Students & teachers of all levels of school can qualify, it doesn’t have to be higher education.

      The final step is for your son to get his status validated in order to receive his permanent serial number – just follow the instructions here.

      And don’t worry about opening the box either – Adobe always has a 30-Day Refund Policy, so if you run into any snags (don’t expect any), you could return it and get your money back.

      Hope this answers your question, but feel free to just post back if you have any others!

  14. Does the CS6 Student and Teacher Edition also (hopefully) include a retired High School Teacher/Administrator along with USAF Retiree/Senior Citizen. This is a one-shot question for a 78-year-old Senior. Many thanks for the years of service you have provided through your Adobe Photoshop Software System…

    My Best to All…
    Bob LaCross, DBA

    • Greetings Bob, thank you for your question and for your service. We’d love to be able to say yes, but regrettably the education discount is extended only to current teachers and students (within six months), and there is no senior citizen price reduction on Adobe software that we are aware of.

      However, if you wanted to get active again in teaching – or even being a student – at your local community college or similar institution, then you could well qualify to buy these products at the much lower prices.

      Sorry the news isn’t better off the start, but thanks for asking!

  15. Thanks for the response. It has been a pleasure through the years to have had the opportunities to utilize all the various Photoshop programs. Without question, the software has continually piqued my interest in a lifelong passion for learning! I THANK you for not only providing the means for me to continue learning into my older age ( (:=> ), but for keeping me abreast of the latest news within this endeavor I remain committed to. Your response, though not encouraging, is still a plus for me in maintaining my interests. Your response was expected and I certainly endorse all of your products with my friends and educational professionals.

    Again my thanks to fellow professionals.
    Bob LaCross, DBA

  16. Hi, I was just wondering before I spend my money on Lightroom 4 Student and Teacher Edition, what do I need to submit if i buy it from a retail store? I am not taking classes in the summer so I don’t want to get burned. Also is there any difference from the regular version?

  17. Hi,

    I picked up a copy of Adobe CS5.5 Design Premium (student edition) from an Authorised Reseller. I then opened a support case for the Post Announce Upgrade to CS6, since I had made the purchase during the complimentary upgrade offer period. Adobe put in a subject line for my case as ‘FOC order for PAU’, and also updated a New Order Number in the case text. I know the PAU stands for the Post Announce Upgrade, but any idea what the FOC and DSST mean?

    I had uploaded a scanned copy of my invoice and Adobe said they were verifying its authenticity. The Reseller confirmed my eligibility for the PAU after speaking to their contacts at Adobe, but I received this update from Adobe on May 29th, so I am starting to get kinda worried about the lack of response/updates since then. Would you have any idea how long this procedure usually takes? Mind you, though, I am in India, so maybe Adobe is doing the ‘When in Rome….’ routine with their current lack of speed.

    Any light you can throw on this situation would be much appreciated.

  18. The full subject line on the case was ‘FOC order for PAU DSST CS6’. And my guess is the FOC stands for Free of Charge.

    Would appreciate an authoritative answer from you guys anyway :-)

    • Yes Joe, FOC is “Free of Charge,” and DSST one of Adobe’s abbreviations for “Design Suite.” The process can take some time. Adobe only just finished emailing out all the free upgrades for those who bought CS5 direct in April – and those were considerably behind what they originally said.

      But there’s never any harm in recontacting them directly to get a status update – they should be able to tell you what the latest is. We find the chat option usually works the quickest. Thanks for your comment and good luck!

  19. hi
    i live and teach in the city of Mysore in India and i would like to buy Photoshop CS6. i need to know the following

    1. can i buy it online and pay by credit card, and avail of the student/teacher discount

    2. what is the procedure? i have all the documents to prove i am a professor in an engineering college

    3. if it has to be done from India, who do i contact and what is their email Id? i find it very difficult to contact the Adobe people here

    please could you help


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