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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 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.

Install now: Get all new Creative Cloud 2021 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?

Get it now

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

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

  1. 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

  2. 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.

    Reply
    • 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 sells all the same CS6 tools & suites direct for either student/teacher or for home/office… Nothing has changed there yet.

      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.

  3. @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.

    Reply
  4. My son goes to primary school and I wish to purchase CS6 for him. If I was to purchase it on his behalf, can I also use an adobe ID with my details (due to the 13-year-old restriction)?

    Reply
    • Greetings Freddy, per Adobe’s eligibility rules, a student must be must be at least 13 years of age in order to qualify for the education discount…

      So unless you are a student or teacher yourself (or could become one), then the answer would be unfortunately not. Sorry it’s not better news in your case now, but of course he will become eligible in the future!

  5. Hmmm, maybe they should take out ‘primary’ school out of their descriptions to not sound so PR charitable when they are stipulating an age that very few primary school students attain…

    Reply
  6. I bought lightroom 4 student edition for my son for christmas two yrs ago but have never uploaded it to my computer because i cannot figure out how to register it as a student edition. It states on the box that he has to have a letter from the school showing enrollment, but it doesn’t say how or where to send the documentation.

    Reply
  7. A quick question regarding the Adobe CC education version.
    My wife is a teacher – so, can we purchase the Adobe CC Education version using her email address as verification, but using my Adobe login info?

    Any help on this is greatly appreciated.

    Thanks.

    Reply
    • Hi Daz, Adobe will grant the education discount and activate the education software for whoever the student or teacher is, meaning your wife and her email address (and therefore her free Adobe ID account).

      These days, typically all it takes is having a .EDU or .K12 email address for instant validation of an academic customer.

      For all the details, see the FAQ link posted in the comment just above yours.

  8. hello, I friend want to sell me the adobe premiere 7.0 educational edition, she already has it. It’s unopened and I am not studying right know. If I buy this product from her, completely closed by manufacturer, can I install it on my computer and use it without any kind of code or something like that?

    Reply
  9. A slightly different question: is there a way to tell once it is installed whether it was the regular edition or the education? I bought Master Collection CS6 from my school’s store, but I don’t remember it having education branding on it at all. In the Adobe Account Manager, it just says Master Collection version 6. Now I’m looking to sell it if I can, since my work gives me a CC subscription.

    Reply
    • Hey Ryan, that’s a really good question… haven’t ever been asked that one before. As far as we’re aware, there’s no way to tell from the software itself. The program is essentially identical; it’s the product licensing and agreed terms that are different.

      You could try checking the splash screen when it starts up, or the “About” screen from the Help menu – but typically if you bought it in your school’s store, it would likely be an education edition.

  10. I have my siblings Adobe CS4 & CS5.5 . How can I check to see if there are any more downloads available? And do I need his college email address to download it? I have the “coupon code” and “registered serial number”, is that all I need? Or what?

    Reply
    • Well, the Adobe student editions are not transferable so not sure if that will work Kevin. Also it isn’t clear from your comment what exactly you have or what you don’t, or its activation status.

  11. i WANT TO WORK OFF LINE — ONLY OFFLINE ON MY COMPUTER.

    I want to install cs6 student version (I am student at SWCC n SDCC) on my never-online computer.
    Can I buy a disk and use my phone for code or registation verification?

    Very clearly: I want to install cs6 on my computer using a disk, then using my phone to call in/out the code so that is will be functional.

    A disk that permits 2 computer use would be nice, but only one is acceptable.

    Jack Mask

    ps plz say yes

    Reply
  12. I was told that I cannot use my Adobe Suite Teacher and Student edition for working for a company and making them designs. They said that would be illegal. Is this true? I do not want to start my projects for a company I am working for if it is illegal.

    Reply
  13. I am thinking of getting the Photoshop student/teacher edition but I have Windows Vista 64-bit.
    Can I still run PS CS6/CC?

    Reply
  14. Hello,

    really useful information here but I just wanted to check something – I am a student and looking to use your software for digital surface pattern design and some possible work on photos as part of my design process – I don’t want to go Cloud at this point and am looking at CS6 the basic education package – is this the right way to go or should I consider the master suite and other packages?

    Also the links to the none education page with the regular prices does not work, it only links to the education page – I have a friend who isn’t studying looking to buy, are these no longer available?

    Reply
  15. I bought Adobe creative suite cs5 whilst in my final year at university. I have had to reset my laptop recently, which has wiped this software from my computer. Is it possible to re-install this software without any student identification?

    Reply
    • Hey there Lucy, it may be possible but you would need to have access to your original serial number… That would depend on whether you purchased discs, or perhaps your license key is still available via your online Adobe account.

      Generally in either event, you probably wouldn’t need to prove student eligibility again, because that has already been done and approved – and as you read above, the CS student editions do not expire.

      However you might need access to the program installer, which you can access via our Adobe software direct links… (CS5 would be on page 2)

    • Greetings Kim, Adobe no longer sells CS5 – they discontinued it a while back as CS5 is now dated software (over 5 years old). And if you try to buy an old version like that from an unauthorized source, then you are opening yourself up to big-time scams.

      But there’s good news however, because Adobe still offers CS6 (the last standalone perpetual version from 2012) and you can continue buy CS6 direct (either full or upgrade), including the CS6 education editions.

      And of course, you can also get the latest-and-greatest release instead which is CC 2015 (available via subscription), which came out just a few months ago and also offers significant student discounts. Those are basically your choices.

  16. If I am currently taking online classes for certification in Real-Estate, does that count as being a “student”?

    I just don’t want to purchase the product to find that my student status would be questioned.

    Reply
  17. I teach the Adobe Creative Suite in a grade 9-12 High School Classroom.
    My School District purchased a product / license as follows:

    Qty 1 – ACAD 12MO SUB CREATIVE CLOUD – Mfg Part# 65206866BB03A12
    Qty 25 – 12MO CC FOR TEAMS LIC SUB L3 250-999 – Mfg Part# 65230990BB03A12

    I am not certain how my IT Department installed the software or how it was supposed to be installed, but here is the problem I have.

    Each time one of my students attempts to open a Creative Cloud App, it requires authentication and will only accept the Enterprise log-in (mine as the teacher). Then when I get 2 students logged it, the next is forced to log me out of CC because a maximum of 2 licenses have been used.

    I should have 26 licenses. I do not know the difference between the 2 listed above nor can I find any info elsewhere other than they are Creative Cloud for Teams (Educationally priced).

    Anyone that can shed some light on this for me, I say, Thank you and Thank you in advance.

    v/r
    Michael C

    Reply
    • Welcome Michael, from the details of your purchase order, it definitely looks as if you have properly purchased 26 licenses for Creative Cloud.

      However, it sounds like what’s happening is only 1 of them is set up, and that is the (first) one for Individuals and not for Teams. See:

      What is the Difference Between Creative Could for Teams vs. Individuals

      This is evident because it sounds like you keep hitting the maximum of two computers allowed for individual licenses… If you had the correct CC for Teams setup, then this would not happen.

      Typically with Creative Cloud for Teams, you have an online license manager and can easily assign or reallocate the various seats in your computer network.

      We would suggest contacting Adobe Technical Support (or requesting that your IT department do so) for guidance on how to fully deploy the product for your premises. Their live online chat facility usually works pretty well, and is fast.

      Hope this helps!

    • PS – Here are more details about the Adobe Admin Console that comes with the CC for Teams bundle – you may find this helpful:

      How to Manage Your Creative Cloud for Teams Membership

      Important: It’s also possible that because you are in a classroom setting, your school purchased Device Licenses for use on specific institutionally-owned computers, rather than use named logins. With a Device License, the CC software is tied to specific computers, so users never have to sign in or enter a serial number to access the Creative Cloud applications. This type of license can work well for environments with shared computers such as classrooms.

      So getting in contact with Adobe and your IT staff, as well as whoever purchased and procured the software for you, could be helpful in getting it all working the way you want it to.

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