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Microsoft Campus Agreement: Overview

On this page:
Operating system upgrades and CALs
Microsoft Office Professional product suite
Using operating systems and Office within a virtualized environment
Windows OS Server software
Student summary
Contact information

Through the Microsoft Campus Agreement (MSCA), MIT faculty, students and staff have varying levels of access to acquire Microsoft software at no cost or at discounted pricing: Windows operating system upgrades (including virtualized OS upgrades) and Client Access Licenses, Microsoft Office, and Windows Server software.

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Operating system upgrades and Client Access Licenses (CALs)

Under the Campus Agreement, all MIT-owned machines are covered for upgrade rights, provided that the machines are only used by MIT faculty, staff or students.

The MSCA includes for all MIT faculty and staff on MIT-owned equipment:

  • Operating system (OS) upgrades
  • Windows server client access licenses

Additionally, each faculty and staff member is allowed to install an OS upgrade on one personally owned machine, provided that the software will be used for MIT purposes only.

Machines purchased without an OS ("White Box" machines), or machines purchased with Linux as their only OS, are not eligible to be upgraded.

The MSCA includes for all MIT students:

  • Operating system upgrades
  • Windows server client access licenses

Students are entitled to put one operating system upgrade on a single, personally owned machine. Machines purchased without an OS ("White Box" machines), or machines purchased with Linux as their only OS, are not eligible to be upgraded. Each student is also allocated a Windows client access license (CAL) by MIT. Note that CALs are licenses only. No software needs to be downloaded.

Students are also entitled to use Windows operating systems, Microsoft Office, or other MSCA software licensed by their departments on MIT-owned equipment provided the software has been installed on the equipment by an MIT faculty or staff member, preferably an MIT Software Liaison.

Learn more about MSCA policies with respect to students.

Members of the MIT community wishing to obtain Windows OS upgrades under the Microsoft Campus Agreement should contact their MIT Software Liaison.

Microsoft Office Professional product suite (Macintosh and Windows)

MIT now offers Microsoft Office at no direct cost to departments, for faculty, staff and student use on MIT-owned machines.

Additionally, each faculty and staff member is allowed to install one version of MS Office Professional on one personally owned machine, provided that the software will be used for MIT purposes only.

Students are entitled to put one version of Microsoft Office Professional on a single personally owned machine. In addition, students may also run an additional virtualized copy of MS Office.

Learn more about MSCA policies with respect to students.

Using operating systems and Microsoft Office within a virtualized environment

Use of Virtualized Microsoft OS on MIT Machines
Using VMware Workstation or VMWare Fusion, departments may have up to four virtualized instances of a Microsoft OS on each MIT-owned machine. Different virtualized versions of Microsoft OS may be used on the same machine.

In addition to the single version Office license faculty and staff are allowed through the Campus Agreement, faculty and staff may also run a second version of Office in a virtualized environment.  For instance, a staff member running Office 2011 for Mac may also run Office 2010 for Windows in a virtualized environment.

Use of Virtualized Microsoft OS and Office on Student Machines
Each student with a machine authorized for an upgrade under the Campus Agreement is entitled to use four instances of a Microsoft OS on that machine. Students may only use OS upgrades and virtualized instances on one machine.

In addition to the single version Office license students are allowed through the Campus Agreement, students may also run a second version of Office in a virtualized environment.  For instance, students running Office 2011 for Mac may also run Office 2010 for Windows in a virtualized environment.

The right to use the VM stops when the faculty member, student or staff leaves MIT.

For more information on Virtualization (VMware), see the Knowledge Base.

Windows OS Server software

MIT now offers Windows OS Server and SharePoint Standard and Enterprise at no cost to Departments, Labs and Centers. Members of the MIT community wishing to obtain a Windows OS Server product under the Microsoft Campus Agreement should contact their MIT Software Liaison. Send questions or inquiries about Windows OS Server Platform to server-opt@mit.edu.

Student summary

MIT-Owned Equipment

Students are entitled to use Windows operating systems, Microsoft Office, or other MSCA software licensed by their departments on MIT-owned equipment provided the software has been installed on the equipment by an MIT faculty or staff member - preferably an MIT Software Liaison.

Note: Under the Campus Agreement, all MIT-owned machines are covered for upgrade rights, provided that the machines are used only by MIT faculty, staff, or students.

Student-Owned Equipment

Operating System Upgrades and CALs
Students are entitled to put one operating system upgrade on a single, personally owned machine. Machines purchased without an OS ("White Box" machines), or machines purchased with Linux as their only OS, are not eligible to be upgraded. Each student is also allocated a Windows client access license (CAL) by MIT. Note that CALs are licenses only. No software needs to be downloaded.

Microsoft Office Professional Product Suite
Students are entitled to put one version of Microsoft Office Professional on a single personally owned machine. In addition, students may also run an additional virtualized copy of MS Office.

Other MSCA Software
A small number of departments have purchased other MSCA software such as Visio and Project. You may check with your software liaison to see if you are covered for other Microsoft applications under the MSCA.

Use of Virtualized Microsoft OS and Office on Student Machines
Each student with a machine authorized for an upgrade (see Operating System Upgrades and CALs above) under the Campus Agreement is entitled to use four instances of a Microsoft OS on that machine. Students may only use OS upgrades and virtualized instances on one machine.

In addition to the single version Office license students are allowed through the Campus Agreement, students may also run a second version of Office in a virtualized environment.  For instance, students running Office 2011 for Mac, may also run Office 2010 for Windows in a virtualized environment.

The right to use the VM stops when a student leaves MIT.

For more information on virtualization (VMware), see the Knowledge Base.

Contact information

Software Liaisons:

For more information or assistance, contact Software Distribution.