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Back in 2015, Microsoft introduced the Office A1 Plus program to help IT move users to the cloud. Through this program, Microsoft offered a free Office subscription that includes Office desktop apps for qualified schools that purchased Office institution-wide for faculty and staff.
Microsoft’s intent was to help educational organizations transition to the cloud. But this program introduced a level of complexity that led to many education customers inadvertently becoming non-compliant. Today, Microsoft announced that it will retire the Office 365 A1 Plus program from August 1st, 2024.
After August 1, 2024, educational organizations with Office 365 A1 Plus users should migrate to Office 365 A1, Microsoft’s free plan, or Microsoft 365 for Education suites (Microsoft 365 A3 and Microsoft 365 A5) at significant discounts off commercial pricing. It is important to note that Office 365 A1 plan does not include the desktop apps. So, organizations can purchase the Office desktop apps add-on or Office 365 A3 licenses.
IT Admins can go to Microsoft 365 Admin Portal and check whether they will be impacted by this plan change from Microsoft.