Adobe’s new Creative Cloud pricing for K-12 schools looks great until you read the fine print

Adobe has long been a significant player in education institutions ranging from K–12 all the way to colleges and universities. Before the Adobe Creative Cloud days, it was one of the most commonly pirated software for college students. The cost for Photoshop was usually above $1,000, and that generally wasn’t in the budget for cash-strapped college students.

As Adobe transitioned to Creative Cloud, it became more affordable for students to purchase it. Instead of having to drop a large sum of money at once, they could subscribe to the entire suite for a much lower monthly or annual fee. Now, Adobe is making another pricing model available to K–12 schools:

In January, we announced we were providing access to Spark for Education, a set of storytelling apps with premium features and additional capabilities for K–12 and higher education institutions, free of charge. And now, we’re pleased to announce that beginning May 15, 2018, the full suite of Adobe Creative Cloud apps will be available to K–12 schools via their authorized Adobe reseller for $4.99 per user license, per year, with a minimum purchase quantity of 500 licenses for a single school, or 2,500 licenses for a school district.

At first glance, you’ll see the $4.99 and think wow. If you keep reading, you’ll see that it’s with a minimum of 500 licenses for a single school. While this is still cheaper than the $30 per month plan that they usually sell for schools, the minimum license order seems a little steep.

If only need Photoshop for a handful of students, you can already buy it for only $9.99 per month with no minimum quantity. With these new plans, you are looking at a minimum of $2,500 year for a single school or $12,500 per year for a district. Unless a school is focused on curriculum using Adobe’s tools, I am not sure it makes sense for most schools to look at it.

I’d love to see Adobe offer this pricing at a minimum of 25 or so (one class). In its current form, I just don’t see a lot of schools who aren’t already buying Adobe Creative Cloud being compelled to go for the new offering. When schools can buy Pixelmator Pro for $60, Pixelmator for $30, and Pixelmator for iPad for $5, paying a $2,500 subscription isn’t going to be that attractive unless it’s absolutely necessary.

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