NUIT extends Microsoft Office programs to all students

Tyler Pager, Assistant Campus Editor

Following an extension of Microsoft’s Campus Agreement, Northwestern University Information Technology is able to offer Microsoft Office free to all students.

In the past, Microsoft’s Campus Agreement was only available for faculty and staff, however, the agreement was expanded to include students last year, said Wendy Woodward, director of NUIT. Woodward said there was no extra fee for NU to allow students free access to Microsoft Office. Woodward said NUIT has been working since last year to create the best distribution system for the free software.

Since Thursday, all active NU students have been able to download Microsoft Office using their Net IDs and passwords. The suite can be downloaded at and includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. However, an official email about the program has not yet been sent to students. 

“NUIT is always happy to share access to software when we are able to,” she said. “We thought it was an exciting opportunity, and as long as the program is available, we will make it available for students for their academic use.”

Woodward added that NUIT is always looking to expand free software options and was particularly interested in offering Microsoft products because of its popularity among the student body.

“We’re always happy to explore software titles that make sense for faculty, staff and students,” she said.

Sheng Wu, Associated Student Government’s vice president of technology, said he was initially surprised that NU did not offer Microsoft Office for free when he first arrived. He said when he took classes at a local college during high school, he was given free access to Microsoft’s programs.

“It makes sense for the University to have,” the McCormick senior said. “Microsoft Office is something that everyone uses.”

Wu added student response has been positive and he said the program is especially beneficial for students with low socioeconomic status.

Weinberg sophomore Daniella Ohnemus said she was excited about the new program, although it doesn’t provide her with any benefits personally.

“I think it would have been useful to have last year when I was getting a new computer,” she said. “I think in general people are excited about it because it is an expensive program to buy.”

She added the University has not done a good job of publicizing the free access to the programs.

“I haven’t heard anything about it from the University,” she said.  “It just happened that someone I was Facebook friends made a public service announcement about it.”

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