Microsoft Licensing: EES Changes

October 2017 saw Microsoft introduce a number of significant changes to their academic licensing programmes.  So, what are these key changes?

Microsoft Enrolment for Education Solutions (EES)

There are three key changes being made to the EES programme:

  • Shifting qualifying products from Desktop Platform Products to Education Platform Products – Desktop Platform Products are on-premise solutions used to qualify for the EES programme. Since 1 October 2017, you may only qualify using online services known as Education Platform Products (A3 and A5 plans)
  • Eliminating complex calculations for ‘full-time equivalent’ (FTE) staff – EES moves to a per-user model (i.e. Education Qualified User – EQU)
  • Enabling greater flexibility to adjust at anniversary – adding flexibility to the programme by enabling institutions to adjust licence count up or down at anniversary (must stay at or above the 1,000 user programme minimum)

These changes offer all the value of EES today, while delivering on Microsoft’s vision for cloud first strategy. Standardizing on the cloud platform (Education Platform Products) means all qualified users have access across multiple devices to the latest versions. Simplifying and standardizing user count lets institutions more accurately license faculty and staff that require full access to Microsoft products and cloud services, while light users have easier access to resources through free or low-cost offerings with the ability to add additional products (for volunteers, contractors, etc.).

What are the Education Platform Products that qualify enrolment into the EES?

The new qualifying products include the new Microsoft 365 Education suites ‘A3’ and ‘A5’ as well as their components. Office 365 Pro Plus is also considered a qualifying product.

How do the new qualifying products compare to the previous Education Desktop Products?

The table below shows the comparison between the Education Desktop and the new Microsoft 365 A3 suite with Education Platform Products. Note that this compares Education Desktop and A3 only, which is the comparative offer to Education Desktop.

What is the definition of an Education Qualified User and Light User?

There is also a fundamental change to counting staff.  FTEs are no longer counted/taken into consideration.  The number of hours a person works is no longer taken into consideration.  The new licensing measurement for the M365 plans are Education Qualified Users (EQUs).

An Education Qualified User is:

Education Qualified User means an employee or contractor (except Students) who accesses or uses an Education Platform Product for the benefit of the Institution

Education Platform Product = Office 365 Pro Plus/A3/A5 and/or Windows A3/A5 and/or EM&S E3/E5 or M365 A3/A5

Components of Office 365 A3/A5 or EM&S E3/E5 are not Education Platform Products (except Office 365 Pro Plus)

A Light User is:
Anyone who doesn’t meet the definition of EQU. If a user does not meet the definition of a EQU, they can be considered a light user and assigned a free of charge Office 365 A1 licence accordingly.

What is the definition of ‘Qualified Device’ in the agreement?

A ‘Qualified Device’ is defined in the Enrolment in part* as:

“Any device that is used by or for the benefit of the organisation or by or for the benefit of students enrolled in the organization and is:

  • A personal desktop computer, portable computer, workstation or similar device capable of running Windows Pro locally (in a physical or virtual operating system environment)
    OR
  • A device used to access a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI)”
* See the EES 2017 Enrollment for the full text of the definition

What about customers with part- or full-time employees who don’t use a computer every day and/or only use it for short tasks like sharing files or checking email – do they have to be covered as a full user now?

These ‘Light Users’ may utilise a $0 SKU that provides access to Office 365 A1, which includes Office Online (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and OneNote), OneDrive storage, Yammer and SharePoint sites, plus additional classroom tools. These users can also use Outlook Web Access to check email from any device with internet access.

What on-premise rights will be available for which licences?

If you require on-premise use, all Education Platform Products include downgrade rights to on-premise products for your licensed products. For example, if you purchase Office 365 A3 for your entire institution, you can downgrade to Office Pro Plus for your entire institution and get rights to:

  • All CALs currently included in the ECAL (and therefore also Core CAL)
  • All server licences for productivity servers, which includes: Exchange, SharePoint, Skype for Business

All other server licences must be purchased in addition to the Microsoft 365 A3 suite – i.e. Windows, System Center, SQL, etc.

Are there other changes being made to the EES?

In addition to key changes listed above, the following adjustments have been made to the programme:

  • The Student User definition has changed so that the Student Licensing Option counts all students regardless of full- or part-time status
  • Work at Home Rights have been retired in favour of the Home Use Programme
  • New Student Use Benefits have been added and standardized across cloud services (applies to all education licensing agreements)
  • The Microsoft Enterprise Server Platform Agreement (ESPA) is being removed from the enrolment and will be an amendment instead (available December 2017) and will be known as the Education Server Platform Licensing Option

Ready to learn more?

If you are an active EES customer through Phoenix, please don’t hesitate to contact your Phoenix Account Manager for help and advice.

If you do not hold an EES agreement with Phoenix but would like to arrange a transition meeting to discuss how we can add significant value to your agreement, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01904 562200, email hello@phoenixs.co.uk or fill in the form below:


Although every attempt has been made to ensure the accuracy of the above article, Phoenix Software Ltd cannot be held responsible for any opinions or information provided therein and as such is not liable for any damages caused by a customer’s reliance upon this information.