Some of you may or may not have read about the new Microsoft Licensing as yet. For those of you who don’t know about it as yet, every year your school pays an annual subscription for Microsoft Licensing usually to a company called SoftwareOne formally trading as Computelec.

This annual license will now cost your school more than what it did in previous years.
Previously the license would be based on FTE count, which stands for “Full Time Equivalent” number. You would count your full time employment and then multiply it by a magic number (rate) that SoftwareOne would give you, then count the number of servers you have and multiply that by a pre determined rate and this will give you the number you have to pay them for your annual licensing.

The change has come about due to the original Microsoft agreement deal being re negotiated after it had run its four year course from 2011 to 2014 with a 1 year extension.

So what’s the change?

Microsoft are now offering a new deal through a different license method which is based upon CAL’s or by its proper name “Client Access License”. So what is a client access license?
A CAL is a soft license that allows a user to access a server and its resources on it. For each student or staff member who accesses the server you will need one CAL license for that person to be in compliance if you were to ever get audited. This method covers you for school owned devices, that are not assigned for exclusive use for example, a 1:1 scheme (parent or school funded).

Recently the Catholic Education Office released a news article giving you an indication of what each CAL license will cost you. The table is below will help you quickly work out how much it will cost your school each year. Please note that there are two different pricing scales you need to use depending on how you use the Microsoft products in your school. As an easy indication, if your school uses microsoft products on the all the student machines, laptops or 1:1 devices, you will be classed as a “Heavy User”. If you only use Microsoft products on your admin computers and a few staff computers around the school then you would be classed as a “Light User”

Heavy User

FTE Rate Total Student Rate Total
50 $90  $4,500  600 $12  $7,200

Sub Total Owing for licensing will be $11,700

Light User

FTE Rate Total Student Rate Total
 50 $30  $1,500  600 $12 $7,200

Sub Total Owing for licensing will be $8,700

Some of you at this point may be thinking “thats almost four times more than what we paid last year” and are about to send an email to your IT contact to work out your options of getting out of this annual subscription.

I have done the thinking for you, and as it stands this is still your best option depending on the size of your school. Here is why:

Option 1

Lets say you purchase out right licenses for you staff and servers. The following pricing table outlines the cost for each item, to work out what it would cost your school all you need to do is fill in the blanks.


  • It is a once off figure for your licenses. The licenses will be perpetual and you will not need to renew them every year.


  • It is a large up front figure where the License agreement is a yearly subscription
  • If you buy a particular version of Office Windows or Windows server, you will be stuck with it until you buy the latest version which means you will need to buy a license again!
  • This could potentially increase your chances of being  audited for licenses by Microsoft.
Product Price Quantity Total
Office for Mac or PC $299
Windows Server $900
CAL License per user $38
Windows Operating System $299

Option 2

Note: This will only work if you have a IT program where your students access technology via a chrome book, iPad, Macbook. It will NOT work if you have a lab of Windows computers or Windows laptops.

Another option is to split your network into staff and students. All staff will fall under your Microsoft Licenses and your students will be controlled under a new Server running a Linux operating system. The new linux operating system is free under an open source license. The linux server will allow the student devices to “talk” over the network to printers, the internet etc. It will also plug into zScaler (if your using it) and Google Apps Directory Sync. You can remote into the new linux server and create new student users etc as you usually did.


  • Your MS licensing will greatly decrease as you wont need to include the students in your license count


  • You will need to make sure that your IT tech knows what he is doing with Linux installations as it is very different to Windows Server. To find a technician who can administer linux can be hard and costly!
  • To reconfigure your current network to this new setup can cost your school a lot of money as you are essentially re creating a network for your student as well as all their accounts.
  • This solution will force your students to only use google apps or office 365 as their “word, excel and powerpoint” solution. The students can not use Microsoft Office or you will be in breach of your licensing.

Option 3

Option 3 combined both option 2 and 3 together where you pay an out right license for your staff and split your network into two for students and staff. However this could potentially increase your chances of being  audited for licenses (a headache you don’t want to go through!)

Summing up as to which option is best for your school will rest on your current student and staff numbers. You need to work out what your MS licensing will cost for the year and then do a comparison with options 1 and 2. If you need help with the decision process feel free to contact us or the CEO Consulting team.