Can any student get MSDN AA software?

MSDN Academic Alliance ( is an important program where Microsoft works with universities to put Microsoft software in the hands of students registered in a science, technology, math, and/or engineering program, for non-commercial use. It will continue in close cooperation with schools around the world. MSDN AA is a paid membership program for college and university departments that enables them to issue software to their students.

  • MSDN AA software and tools offering is for distribution and use by students and faculty of STEM-D (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Design) departments for in-class teaching and research use, and by students for out-of-class self-learning.
  • Any student registered to take a class in a STEM-D department is eligible to get access to ALL of the MSDN AA software and tools (not just the software being used in the class they are taking).
  • The student does not have to be a major in the STEM-D department; the student must just be registered for taking a class in STEM-D department. Also the class the student is registered for does not need to be using any of the MSDNAA software in the class. Just being registered for a class in STEM-D program is sufficient for the student to get access to ALL of the MSDN AA software -for self-study, out-of-class projects, etc.
    • For example: at Wayne State University the computer science program runs a service course CSC 1000 – Introduction to  Computer Science. This course is only for non-computer science majors and is used by the non-cs Wayne students to  satisfy the Computer Literacy  Requirement. the course itself teaches  introductory computer concepts and desktop office applications. there were 15 sections offered in Fall 2008 –
    • In this scenario, all students enrolled in the CSC 1000 are eligible to get ALL software from MSDN AA. 
  • STEM-D Students (and faculty) can install ALL software on their personal machines; in addition all department machines in labs and faculty machines can be installed with MSDN AA software.
  • Students and faculty can retain all the software on their machines even after students graduate or when faculty stop teaching.
  • In all cases the MSDN AA software can only be used for non-commercial use, such as teaching, learning, research, in or outside the classroom. The students receiving MSDN AA software are expected to conform to the non-commercial use agreement.
  • The MSDN AA Licence agreement (EULA) provides the details and is posted at
Comments (3)

  1. Bill Burrows says:

    Hi Guatam,

    Thanks for this informatin. I have been an MSDNAA admin for many years and I was not aware of this policy. Is it new or am I just out of touch?

    bill burrows

  2. gautam says:

    Hi Bill,

    Thanks for your support of the MSDN AA progra.

    I realize the policy on MSDN AA is a bit confusing and has quite a bit of legal-speak. The policy itself has been the same since inception and has not changed, to the best of my knowledge. I have confirmed this policy with multiple Microsoft employees involved with MSDN AA and am confident of this interpretation.

    The intent of MSDN AA is to get the software into the hands of the students who can use it to learn (and faculty who can teach with it) – hence the distribution is limited to students who have shown an inclination to learn technical skills – by taking a class in STEM-D discipline – even if the class has no programming involved.

    -gautam reddy

  3. Hi Gautam

    This is a really useful blog. Thank you very much for the clear info.

    Now the question. In the following screen

    you can see a form to "activate my subscription" after logging in Windows Live. I already have associated my dreamspark with my windows live and I want to do the same with the MSDNAA subscription, mainly because all the MSDNAA titles are not included in my elms_eacademy UAM.NET site:

    The main problem is I wasn’t give the info about the Benefit Access Number or Subscriber ID, so I can’t do it by myself

    Can you help me?