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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 6, Acrobat XI, and the Elements line.  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 macOS, 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.

Install now: Get all new Creative Cloud 2024 direct download links and free trials.

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?

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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

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804 thoughts on “What Are the Limitations of the Adobe Student & Teacher Versions?”

  1. Photoshop CS6 Extended, the student price is $349 in the above article. I wish to use on my windows laptop which has internet and windows desktop unit which is not connected to the web. I am a registered full-time university student.

    Where do I buy the licence (can not see where to purchase it), and how to I load to the desktop computer?


  2. How would upgrades work with the student version? Would my son still be able to receive upgrades at an additional discounted student rate? Thank you.

    • Hey Liza, let’s try to clarify that… Here’s the full answer to your question:

      With the Creative Cloud and other Adobe subscription software (including the CC 2017 tools), all ongoing product upgrades are always included in the price and customers never pay extra.

      With all other Adobe products that still offer traditional (perpetual) licensing as an option (Acrobat is one example), 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 Adobe education version then you’ll either: (a) receive upgrades free with all CC products and purchases, or (b) still receive the same upgrade pricing as anyone who has a standard commercial release. In a nutshell, upgrades don’t work any differently for the student/teacher editions than they do for the regular versions.

  3. Just wondering if there is a master collection edition anymore? If so, is there a student version of it?
    I do not want to purchase my usage monthly. I really don’t like that idea. I have enough monthly bills, thank you.
    What student programs can I get whereby they are paid for outright?

  4. So just to clarify – these student versions don’t expire when I graduate? I still have have the full version of Adobe when I graduate – it doesn’t suddenly say I need to buy the $500 + version upon graduation?
    I ran into this with Microsoft – I didn’t realize I purchased a 4-year university ‘subscription’ and now have to pony up and repurchase it, or buy the whole version.

    • Hello Lisa, which product are you talking about specifically? There are two possible answers, depending on which product and what type of licensing:

      All Adobe perpetual (“standalone”) Student/Teacher versions continue to work indefinitely, even after graduation.

      All Adobe subscription versions will continue to work after graduation – but as always, when it comes up for renewal, your Student/Teacher status needs to be reverified. This can be as simple as showing that you still have a “.edu” email address, for example. Or alternatively, you can send them simple documentation that demonstrates your education status – where anything from within the past 6 months is considered “current” by Adobe.

      For more details, see Adobe’s academic eligibility criteria here.

  5. I need the student’s version of Adobe Illustrator – I don’t see that mentioned in the list above; can you please let me know what product I am supposed to order.

    Thanks, Sara

    • Hi Sara, Adobe offers an individual version of Illustrator CC at full/regular price, but not a student-discounted version of any individual CC product…

      Adobe’s education-discounted price of up to 70% off only applies to the complete Creative Cloud (“All Apps”). You can see that plan or read more details about that here:

  6. Hi! So first of all, I’m a bit new with this Adobe Creative Cloud but I’m well experienced at using the previous programs (like CS6) from our school and I just purchased the All Apps – Special Offer Student/Teacher Plan (with the Mobile Apps as well) for my personal laptop.

    So here are the questions: 1.) since I purchased that plan to my own personal laptop, what’s the maximum amount of devices that you can access, install, and use those programs? or is it literally just one? Cuz I tried installing it for both of my personal and my school’s laptop, and it worked perfectly fine for some reason. 2.) I will only need to use those programs just until by the end of the year, so is this plan contracted to pay for 12 months straight? or can I cancel the subscription anytime and won’t get charged?

    Thanks! :)

    • Welcome Rapha, and congrats on your new software tools. Here are the answers to your questions:

      1) You can normally install and activate the software on up to two of your computers, either Windows or macOS (or both) – see:

      How Many Computers Can You Install or Run Adobe Software On?

      2) The Adobe CC Student/Teacher Editions are heavily-discounted, and in order to receive the low academic pricing, the plan runs for a year at a time. If you cancel before 12 months is up, then it’s possible you could be charged a fee for early termination of the agreement. The amount is typically 50% of the remaining contract.

      If you have any further questions, just post back.

  7. Hello, I was wondering if the student/teacher version edition of adobe acrobat professional allows you to extract and edit forms? I am new to this so trying to figure out how it all works. Thank you

  8. Do you have a discounted pricing program (or have you considered one) for those of us who are “disabled” and are limited, both in our ability to spend time using your product, or the money to subscribe to your products?

  9. I want to buy the Adobe CC Student edition for my daughter but she doesn’t have a credit card. Can she purchase the subscription with her Adobe ID and input my credit card information? Or I must create an Adobe ID and purchase it for her, because the credit card on her behalf is in my name?

  10. Hello! My husband is a professor and is interested in the complete CC subscription. Are you saying that it’s only discounted for teachers for the first year at $19.99 a month? Or will that price continue as long as he is a professor? Thank you!

  11. Hi, I’m a teacher and I want to install Adobe Acrobat Pro on the computer that our PTA is purchasing for the school. While I will be the only person using it, the computer will belong to school and will be passed on to other teachers if I leave school for any reason. Will it be possible to continue having the Acrobat Pro even when all my personal information and sign-ins are deleted from the computer?

  12. Hi,
    Can you advise on how much the student CC will cost after the first year. For the second, third and fourth years, please.
    Thank you

  13. @Kevin
    There needs to be a way for not only people with disabilities whom have limited income, but college students who tend to work part-time or not at all to get access to the whole Adobe CC (Creative Cloud) Apps at affordable prices and/or free prices, with a valid .edu email while a person is going to college and need to use the Adobe CC Apps on his/her own computer/laptop to finish college assignments while he/she is not on campus and cannot afford to have access to Adobe CC Apps otherwise. Low-income people with disabilities should be charged less than the $19.99 price per month college students are charged to have access to use Adobe CC Apps. I know Adobe is a very rich company that can afford to let college students with a valid .edu email to use their whole Adobe CC Apps while they are in college working on their degree, whatever it is. Comcast and AT&T allow families/individuals who get SNAP (food stamps) to pay $10 per month for Internet access and I know Adobe can afford to allow families/individuals with limited incomes and get SNAP to pay $10 per month to have access to the complete Adobe CC Suite.

    • I agree… This subscription should be available for the $10/month or even free for Adults with disabilities & on a fixed income. The student version for $19/month should be available to all students in primary & middle schools too. It says it’s available for primary & middle schools, but apparently only for the teachers because most students 13+ are in 8th grade+.

      At least with the standalone version, someone could save up to eventually buy it, maybe even a used older version. But with this now being an ongoing indefinite subscription, you never stop paying for it if you need it all the time, so in the end the costs will be substantially more for many that use CC. With that being said, they could lower the subscription price overall. And as long as you don’t cancel & you’ve subscribed for 12 consecutive months, instead of having it go up after the first year, it should go down a little. And a little more each consecutive year. Of course at some point, you get to the lowest possible price point, like the $10/month and pay that indefinitely unless you cancel. Would need an option for a Pause for a short period though because life happens and unexpected things come up. Like a 1 month at a time pause option with 6 months consecutively being the max. But no limit on how many times you can pause in a lifetime. And if you cancel, it starts over, back to starting price.

    • Greetings Branclay, thanks for your interesting comment. Unfortunately there is no disabled/retiree price reduction or limited-income discount on Adobe software that we are aware of… However, you can give your feedback to the company directly with their Feature Request Submission and we would encourage you to do so.

      Adobe does offer discounts for those in non-profit or charitable organizations, if that helps. They partner with TechSoup to make their products available to the nonprofit community at greatly-reduced prices. They also just made Adobe Express premium completely free for all non-profits and charities worldwide.

      Regarding the overall pricing scheme you propose, it’s unlikely that Adobe is going back or changing the model. Creative Cloud was launched over eleven years ago – and the current offering still looks remarkably like it did back then at its introduction in November 2011. Marketplace adoption has steadily grown since then and the total number of paid subscribers is now over 30 million customers – far more users than Creative Suite ever had. So it’s fair to say that Creative Cloud has been a significant success and the company has not seen a need to change the model much.

      Regarding suspending a subscription – it is possible and can be unlimited, but only if you have the Monthly (month-to-month) plan. See this explainer for more details:

      Can You Pause or Suspend an Adobe Subscription? It Depends

  14. Can I transfer my Student versions of InDesign and Photoshop to my new laptop? I don’t need to keep them on the old one and I have the CDs and serial numbers, I just didn’t know if the student versions would let me re-register the serial number on a new computer even if I removed from the original one.

  15. Do you have video tutorials available for the cloud version, now that the other perpetual version was discontinued?

  16. So do you just need verification at the initial purchase? What if after a year, you are no longer a student – will you continue to get the student renewal pricing year after year?

    • Hi Ed, actually you do need to reconfirm academic status in order to receive Adobe’s education discount on an annual basis, at the time of renewal…

      So the question then becomes, what happens when you graduate or leave school?

      Well, Adobe says: “Documents dated within the last six months are considered current.”

      So if you have anything with a date or validity within the past 6 months that says you’re a student (e.g., your student ID, transcript, tuition bill, etc), then you should be able to get the education discount. Otherwise, you would no longer be eligible.

  17. I thought I purchased the perpetual Student teacher version – I can not find anything on the box that says it is only for 1 year, but after 1 year, it will not allow me to edit or even save as a pdf. any ideas why?

  18. I can’t save my project from InDesign or Illustrator on my computer, I can only save it on the cloud. Is this because I have a student account?

    • Hi Amelie,

      No, there’s no difference in the software itself with the student editions. It’s the exact same application as the regular versions.

      Try using the “File > Save As…” command, rather than just hitting Save, and see if that helps.

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