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Open License for Academic Program Guide
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Open License for Academic Program Guide

This guide provides information to help you understand the Microsoft® Open License for Academic licensing program and deploy and manage your software licenses. It is provided for informational purposes only. Your licensed product use is governed by the terms of your licensing agreement. The Microsoft Licensing Product Use Rights (PUR) document, which is updated regularly, provides additional details regarding current use rights for specific Microsoft products acquired through Volume Licensing programs. For a copy of the current PUR, please go to

Academic Volume Licensing Overview

For education customers who license software in quantity and manage software across multiple computers, Microsoft Volume Licensing programs may provide the most cost-effective way to acquire licenses.

Microsoft offers both “subscription” and “transactional” volume licensing programs for education customers.

Subscription Licensing
With subscription licensing programs, you have the right to run a selection of products, and any upgrades or downgrades of those products, for a designated term. For application, system, and Client Access License (CAL) products, even if the number of computers or users grows, you remain fully licensed throughout the designated term, and you only need to report increases on your annual order.

Microsoft has two subscription licensing programs for education customers. Campus Agreement is for higher-education institutions and offers the simplicity of counting people instead of computers. School Agreement is for K-12 schools and preschools and makes it easy to license all of a school’s computers by counting them just once per year.

Subscription licensing offers many benefits, including:

  • Easy compliance. Because all of your school’s computers and users are covered throughout the subscription term, it is easy to ensure that your school is fully licensed for the products you have selected.
  • Low administration. Subscription licensing helps eliminate the need to track licenses for the selected licensed products on every computer. This is especially helpful for managing licensed product assets in a decentralized environment.
  • Current technology. With subscription licensing, your licensed users can run the most current version of the licensed products included in your subscription.
  • Simple budgeting and purchasing. One annual payment covers all of the licensed products you have selected for the year.
  • Excellent value. By standardizing on a platform of products, you reduce your total cost of ownership while helping to increase productivity and access to current technology. Software Assurance Membership—including support resources, tools, and E-Learning courses—is included with your license coverage at no additional charge. You also receive one complimentary MSDN® Academic Alliance or MSDN Academic Alliance High School membership.

Transactional Licensing
With transactional volume licensing programs, you acquire perpetual software licenses (meaning your institution has a perpetual, everlasting license) while eliminating the costs and packaging of retail software.

Microsoft has three transactional volume licensing programs for education customers: Microsoft Open License for Academic, Microsoft Select License for Academic, and Microsoft Select Plus for Academic.

Open License for Academic
Open License for Academic is a widely accessible and cost-effective way for small education institutions to license Microsoft software, starting with as few as five licenses. You simply determine the number of software licenses your institution wishes to acquire and place the order with an authorized reseller. You also have the option to include Software Assurance with your licenses. After obtaining licenses, you can order installation media from a Microsoft-approved fulfillment source for a fee. License confirmations are distributed electronically and posted on a password-protected Internet site.

Select License for Academic
Select License for Academic provides volume licensing for medium and large institutions with approximately 250 or more PCs who are able to forecast their license needs over a three-year period. Each product within Select License for Academic has an assigned point value, which allows your institution to establish a special Academic price level by meeting a minimum forecast of license acquisitions.

With Select License for Academic, you can add Software Assurance to an individual license, or you can select Software Assurance Membership (SAM) for an entire pool of products. You can also pass on the savings of Select License for Academic to your students by including a Student Select enrollment with your Select License for Academic agreement. Select License for Academic is available through an Authorized Education Large Account Reseller (LAR). To locate a LAR in the U.S. or Canada, please visit

Select Plus for Academic
Select Plus for Academic is the newest transactional program for medium and large institutions with approximately 250 or more PCs. Select Plus for Academic offers the advantages of a non-expiring agreement, the flexibility to acquire licenses as needed, a single customer ID to streamline account management across multiple affiliates, student licensing through Student Select Plus, and the ability to add value with a full 36 months of Software Assurance. Select Plus for Academic is available through an Authorized Education Large Account Reseller (LAR). To locate a LAR in the U.S. or Canada, please visit

  Open License for Academic Features and Benefits

Microsoft Open License for Academic is a smart choice for great value on Microsoft software. Created for smaller education institutions, this flexible licensing program offers savings on retail Microsoft software, while giving you the full benefits of an innovative volume-based licensing program. The Open License for Academic program is designed to provide an easy way foro you to acquire and administer multiple copies of software and receive license confirmations quickly and conveniently. You can obtain the most current Microsoft software products for your institution while helping to manage overall costs and staying compliant.

Open License for Academic Value

  • Simplicity – Open License for Academic is easy to understand and administer with simple, clear terms for acquiring software licenses.
  • Flexibility – Open License for Academic is flexible enough to meet the needs of a broad range of institutions. Customers can choose from a wide selection of products. After an initial order of five or more licenses, you may place orders for as few as one license, so you order only what you need.
  • Availability – You can acquire Microsoft products through Open License for Academic from any Authorized Education Reseller (AER).
  • Compliancy – With eOpen, you receive license confirmation information electronically and you can quickly and easily view your license purchase history—so there’s never any question about what licenses you own.
  Acquiring Licenses Through Open License for Academic

Minimum Initial Order

In order to initiate an Open License for Academic agreement, there is a minimum acquisition requirement of five licenses. This may include licenses in any combination of products. When your acquire a licnese with Software Assurance (L+SA), it counts as two licesne toward your 5 lincese minimum order.

Additional Orders

There is no minimum requirement for additional orders, so you can submit orders for as few as one license and receive the volume discounted price established by your Open License for Academic agreement.

Reorders Under the Authorization Number

The authorization number is assigned by Microsoft when you initiate a new Open License agreement (or initial order). The authorization number is used for reorders, affiliate purchasing, and license tracking.


Initial orders under an
Open License Agreement

Additional orders under an existing
Open License Agreement

Contract Term

Two year term begins with each new order on a new authorization number

Two-year term begins with initial order only

Online (eOpen) tracking

Set up a new logon to view licenses online

Return to eOpen using current logon to view additional licenses purchases

Parent/Subsidiary & Affiliate relationship

Parent or other related entity must place initial order to set price level

Parent or affiliate may use same authorization number for reorders

Minimum Order Quantities

5 licenses

1 license

Software Assurance

Customer has full two-year coverage from initial order

Customer length of coverage expires at the end of the authorization number started with the initial order


Licensing Windows Upgrade through Open License for Academic

When you license a desktop operating system through Microsoft Volume Licensing programs, it’s important to understand that only UPGRADE licenses for Windows are available—FULL operating system licenses are not offered. Prior to licensing a Windows Upgrade through your Open License for Academic agreement, you need to have a full underlying license for a qualifying operating system for each PC. (Qualifying operating systems are listed in the Microsoft Volume Licensing Product List, which you can find at There are two ways for you to get the necessary full operating system license:

  1. For newly manufactured PCs, the best way to acquire that license is to have the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) pre-install Windows on the PC.

  2. If the OEM has not pre-installed Windows on the PC, then you can purchase a full Windows license through retail full packaged product (FPP).

If you discover that you have existing PCs that lack the necessary full license for a qualifying operating system, talk to your Microsoft reseller about the Get Genuine Windows Agreement for Academic (GGWA-A). GGWA-A provides a simple, cost-effective way for you to acquire full licenses for Windows Vista Home Basic. These licenses fulfill your requirement for a full qualifying operating system. Once you have acquired the full operating system license, you are then eligible to license those PCs for Windows Vista Business Upgrade* through your Open License for Academic agreement. Learn more at

  Software Assurance With Open License for Academic
When you include Software Assurance with licenses acquired through Open License for Academic, you acquire the right to install any new release of covered products during the term of the Open License for Academic authorization number under which Software Assurance was purchased. You also qualify to receive eLearning content. Learn more about the benefits of Software Assurance at

How Software Assurance Works

Software Assurance (SA) is a great value for institutions who value the ability to deploy and update solutions based on the most recent technology releases.

Once purchased, SA enables you to take advantage of technology advancements available through future version software products released during the term of your Open License for Academic authorization number. This advantage also applies to older version software, which offers you additional flexibility in deployment of solutions that meet your needs.

Purchasing Software Assurance

You may purchase Software Assurance (SA) with a license by ordering License & Software Assurance (L&SA). SA coverage runs for two years or the remaining balance of the term of the Open License for Academic authorization number. SA must always be paid for in two-year increments, regardless of when it was purchased. In cases where time has passed after the initiation of an Open License for Academic, it may be advantageous for you to open a new Open License for Academic agreement in order to receive the most value from you SA purchase.

You may also be acquire Software Assurance on its own when:

  • System or server software product licenses are acquired through retail full-packaged product (FPP) or from an original equipment manufacturer (OEM). There is a 90-day enrollment period during which time Software Assurance may be added to these purchases.
  • Microsoft Office 2003 or newer version licenses are acquired through an OEM. Again there is a 90-day enrollment period during which time Software Assurance may be added to these purchases.

Please note: In Open License for Academic, SA is only available at a two-year price.

  Tracking Licenses with eOpen

Microsoft provides electronic delivery of Open License for Academic through the eOpen Web site at in countries where electronic license delivery is available. eOpen is a proprietary Web-based solution that reflects our record of the license status of all Open License for Academic customers. The secured license site has been developed to help manage Open License for Academic acquisitions. With each acquisition, a customer will receive access to the secured site to view the Open License for Academic status, license data, acquisition and return details, Open License for Academic agreements, and other Open License for Academic information.

eOpen Benefits
  • Immediate authorization to begin copying software and deploying software licenses
  • Ability to electronically track transactions online
  • Easy access to transaction history, including acquisitions, reorders, and returns
  • Reduction of administrative costs associated with manually tracking license certificates and software compliance
  • Utilization of the Internet to take advantage of online technology

How eOpen Works

When Microsoft accepts an Open License for Academic order, the authorization and license numbers are created and posted to eOpen within 24 hours, giving a view of our record of the customer’s license status.

Order and license status include:

  • Authorization number
  • License number
  • Name and address of end user
  • Date of initial order
  • Expiration of authorization number (last day to reorder)
  • Products and quantity ordered

Open License Software Assurance (SA) Evaluator

The Open License Software Assurance Evaluator on can assist you in determining the most cost-effective method for purchasing SA.

The tool summarizes Open License purchases in the current eOpen view. The products are then grouped into four categories:

  • Not Current – Indicates licenses maintained for a previous version of a product.
  • Current without Upgrade Advantage – Indicates licenses maintained for a current version of the product, but not rights to new releases.
  • Current with Upgrade Advantage – Indicates licenses maintained for a current version of the product and rights to versions of that product released during the Upgrade Advantage period.
  • Not Analyzed – The tool is not equipped to analyze every situation. In this case, please speak to a reseller for appropriate analysis.

Once categorized, the tool will provide options on how products in the first three categories can be covered by SA. Once the licenses have been analyzed, save the analysis and share it with a reseller to determine the best course of action. The tool is currently available in English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Brazilian Portuguese, and Spanish.


A company or legal entity that owns, is owned by, or is under common ownership with the customer.

Authorization number             
The number assigned to the customer by Microsoft after initiating an Open License for Academic account. This number allows for reorders for two years.

Authorized Education Reseller
A reseller that is authorized to sell Microsoft Academic Edition (AE) products to eligible academic customers.

An organization authorized by Microsoft to distribute Microsoft products to resellers.

A secured proprietary Web-based site that provides Open customers access to Open License for Academic account information.

See License & Software Assurance Package.

The license that grants a customer the right to run a Microsoft software product as specified in the product use rights.

License & Software Assurance Package                        
The part number that combines the License and Software Assurance part numbers.

Microsoft Corporation or any of its affiliates.

Open License               
In relation to Microsoft volume licensing, Open License is a volume license program for customers with a need for as few as 5 licenses. Open License refers to the rules and procedures of this acquistion option or to the sofware products acquired and to the agreement that grants rights to use the products depending on the context.

Product list                 
A document listing all Microsoft products available for acquistition under the Open License for Academic
Product pools              
Microsoft products available through Open License for Academic are categorized as applications, systems, and server products.

Any organization providing the resale of a Microsoft products to a customer.

See Software Assurance.

Software Assurance          
The comprehensive Microsoft maintenance program.

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