How Does a Student Version of Photoshop Differ From Standard?

The student version of Photoshop, officially "Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended - Student Edition," is a good option for all higher education students who are interested in photo editing.

There is no difference in functionality between the full and student versions of Photoshop Extended. The differences between Photoshop Extended and Photoshop Extended - Student Edition are alterations to the pricing structure, consumer base, and End User License Agreement (EULA.)

There is, of course, a difference between Photoshop and Photoshop Extended. Extended includes 3D support and several smart tools that the regular Photoshop lacks.

A Lower Price

Adobe Photoshop (standard) retails for $699, though it is occasionally made available for less. Photoshop Extended goes for $999. The Student Edition of Adobe Photoshop, which includes all the features of Extended, weighs in at $199, an 80% discount over its non-educational release counterpart.

Sale Only To Students

Adobe requires that students meet the follow requirements to be eligible for the Student Editions of their software be in one of these four groups...

  • Students enrolled in grades K-12 at an accredited public or private primary or secondary school providing full-time instruction.
  • Full- or part-time students enrolled at a higher education institution defined as an accredited public or private university or college (including community, junior, or vocational college) that grants degrees requiring not less than the equivalent of two (2) years of full-time study.
  • Full- or part-time faculty and staff employed by an accredited K-12 or higher education institution
  • Other qualified examples as listed by Adobe from time to time on its website or in other written communication

Students must also provide evidence of their enrollment in the form of a student ID, transcript, or proof of enrollment. They provide this proof in exchange for a serial number to the software. Student Edition serial numbers differ from standard edition serials.

A Different License

A different legal license applies to the student edition of the software. Here are some key points that affect North American student licensees:

  • The software must be used on private computers. The Student Edition cannot legally be run on a business-owned or school-owned machine. Happily, the student license allows for use on two machines, such as a desktop and a laptop.
  • The software cannot be transferred or sold. Adobe does not want students to buy discounted software and sell it at a profit.
  • Students can only buy one copy of a Student Edition of Adobe software. Again, Adobe wishes to stop students from profiting unduly off their offer.
  • The software can be used after graduation.
  • The software can be used commercially. Images produced by the Student Edition can be sold by the student before or after he graduates.
  • The software cannot be returned or exchanged. For this reason, it is advised that the user verifies his eligibility before purchase.

The Adobe website hosts a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section regarding the student versions of their software. International readers may be subject to different terms than those listed above, and are advised to check local versions of Adobe's website.

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