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For students worldwide, Microsoft has some very special programmes called "MSDNAA", "Microsoft Imagine" and "The Ultimate Steal", through which it's possible to get a variety of Microsoft software products either for free or at a very low rate.

Microsoft Imagine (formerly DreamSpark)

The scope of this programme is mainly (but not exclusively) on secondary schools. To get download access, you'll need to have a Windows Live ID, and pass a simple e-mail verification procedure. Available software include:

The downloads are available on the Microsoft Imagine Website.

Imagine Premium

The former MSDN Academic Alliance programme (MSDNAA) focuses on universities and colleges. Download access must be applied for at your organisation's data centre. The downloads will also be provided by your organisation. Available software includes almost the full MSDN catalogue including the following:

The Ultimate Steal

The "Ultimate Steal" programme offered heavily discounted Windows and Office licenses for students. This programme has been discontinued. The only small remainder is availability of a discounted subscription of Office 365 for academic use and a few minor discounts for students. This package comes not close to be as attractive as the former student deals. It can be purchased through the Amazon website or the Microsoft Store for example: