Search the site:
Illinois Country Living

Powered Up

Ed VanHoose
Ed VanHoose is the Digital Communications Administrator/IT Manager for the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives

Ask Ed

Once again, this month’s Powered Up focuses on answering more reader questions. I must apologize for not being able to answer all of them. I do try to get to questions asked by more than one person, and I also look for those questions that may be out of the ordinary. Keep the questions coming! If I answer you, I will e-mail you in advance of the publication as well. That way, you have help without waiting to see it in print. Ok! On with the show!

Sarah from Rural Electric Convenience Cooperative asks, “My grandson recently started high school. I was talking with some of my friends and they say that there are ways that students can get cheaper programs for student computers. Is that so? How does he get that?”

That most definitely is so, Sarah! I’m assuming you’re talking about Microsoft programs, because those are the ones that most people think of when they think about student discount programs for software purchases. Actually, there are other programs that your grandson can become involved in to get even more benefits. I’ll give you some links to those programs a little later in the article. For now, let’s talk about how your grandson can get signed up for student discounts of Microsoft products.

The first thing he needs is a student e-mail account. Most schools these days give out e-mail accounts to their students. You will know it’s an educational account because it will end in “.edu” not “.com” or something else. For instance, it may be something like: So long as the address ends in .edu, and the school has registered with Microsoft, your grandson should be eligible. If he doesn’t have a .edu account, encourage him to visit the main office of his school. I bet they can get him one. If the school doesn’t offer it, then I encourage you to speak with the principal. He can get the school signed up with Microsoft very quickly. (If they don’t know how, just give him my e-mail address! I’d be glad to help point him in the right direction.)

Ok, so your grandson now has his .edu e-mail account. What next? He simply needs to visit Microsoft’s student discount page: Once there, you will see that one of the biggest benefits to getting the student discount lies in purchasing Microsoft Office. MS Office is one of the more expensive programs he will need, but by purchasing it with the student discount, he can get it for $99.00. For comparison Microsoft Office Professional 2010 is $499.99.

If you look around on the site, you’ll also see the option to purchase a Windows 7 upgrade, and many other software offers. Now, I don’t want to sound like I’m totally selling Microsoft products here. In fact, I recommend software from several different companies. But, if your grandson needs these products for school, why not take advantage of the offers in place?

And, while we’re on the discount webpage, let’s look at one other program offered by Microsoft. Scroll to the bottom of the page and look for the section that reads “Microsoft Dreamspark.” Click on that and you’ll be taken to another page that gives students access to even more software! I particularly like that Microsoft has chosen to allow students the ability to learn server software at no cost! Those are great skills that could come in very handy later.

Just one more plug for another fantastic program and that will be all for this month. Microsoft also offers a Student Partner program ( This program offers too many benefits to list here, but I encourage you to visit the page and checking for yourself. It’s a competitive program, but could lead to a part-time paid position with scholarship possibilities.

Everybody has technical issues. Some are interesting. Some aren’t. If you have an interesting technical problem that you want answered in a future edition of Powered Up, please drop me an e-mail. (I might even answer some of the uninteresting ones too.)

Ed VanHoose is the Digital Communications Administrator/IT Manager for the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives in Springfield. He is a specialist in the IT field with over 12 years of experience working in leadership roles for technology based projects in Illinois and Missouri.




© 2016 Illinois Country Living Magazine.
Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives

Designed and Maintained by Cooperative Design and Print.

Current Issue Archive About Us Advertisers Contact Us FAQ