Microsoft has announced changes to its Microsoft 365 for Education suite, which will affect storage limits and lead to the retirement of the Office A1 Plus program. The decision comes as the increased use of technology in education has made free, unlimited storage plans impractical and has raised security risks and fraud concerns.
Starting August 1, 2024
- School tenants using Microsoft 365 or Office 365 will receive 100TB of free pooled storage across OneDrive, SharePoint, and Exchange upon contract renewal.
- A3 and A5 subscriptions will receive an additional 50GB or 100GB of pooled storage per paid user, respectively.
- Office 365 A1 users will be limited to a maximum of 100GB of OneDrive storage per user within the school tenant’s 100TB of pooled storage, effective February 1, 2024.
- The Office A1 Plus program, introduced in 2015 to simplify the cloud transition for IT, will be retired. After this date, schools can choose Office 365 A1, the no-cost option, or Microsoft 365 for Education suites at significant discounts off commercial pricing.
To facilitate this transition, Microsoft will provide free tools to help schools manage the process end-to-end, including visualization tools for storage allocation and usage across platforms and tools for managing stored data and end-of-life files.
Microsoft explains that the growing storage burden drives these changes due to the proliferation of files and data without proper end-of-life planning. From a sustainability perspective, storing unused data contributes to a higher carbon footprint and increased electricity consumption. By implementing these changes, Microsoft aims to enhance security, privacy, and environmental sustainability while continuing to invest in meaningful innovation for education.