Free Adobe software granted to UA students, faculty


CW / Madelyn Verbrugge

Keely Brewer | @keelykbrewer, Staff Reporter

The University of Alabama has signed an agreement with Adobe that will grant all students and faculty access to the Adobe Creative Cloud at no cost on their personal devices beginning Thursday, Sept. 12. 

In March 2019, once classes resumed after Spring Break, the Student Government Association (SGA) partnered with the Office of Information Technology (OIT) and sent out a Qualtrics survey via email to gauge student satisfaction with the services and products provided to them through the University. A separate survey was sent to all faculty and staff members. They were asked to rate their experiences with these services but were also encouraged to identify services or products they wanted but weren’t currently being offered. 

Meagan Bennett, the director of customer relations for the OIT, explained that this campus-wide survey was a part of their strategic planning process that allowed them to pause in the midst of leadership changes throughout the office to reevaluate students’ wants and needs. 

The survey remained available on the OIT website for the month after and was promoted by the SGA and UA News to maximize student and faculty feedback. After analyzing the results, the SGA discovered that access to Adobe was the No. 1 request among students who completed the survey. Bennett presented the results to the leadership team within the OIT, who then requested funding from the vice president for finance and operations. The University was able to secure central funding and continue the process of making the Adobe Creative Cloud available to students.

“It helps that a couple of other schools provide it, so we could use that as bargaining,” Bennett said. “Auburn is a Creative campus, so if Auburn’s doing it, we have to step up.”

This change will designate the University as an Adobe Creative Campus, making it the only school in the SEC with this title except for Auburn. The OIT anticipates an increased use of this software among students currently using it, along with a wide adoption rate from students who weren’t previously encouraged to utilize Adobe through their coursework.

Bennett has personally used the expansive software programs that the University has provided in the past for science and engineering students. As a former public relations major, she recalled having to stay on campus to utilize the computer labs in Reese Phifer. 

Students in the College of Communication and Information Sciences are often enrolled in courses that require access to photo and video editing software. Their coursework requires them to become proficient in this software and leaves them with two options: stay on campus to complete assignments or cover the cost of the software for convenience. This isn’t limited to Communication and Information Sciences. It also applies to students in graphic design, fine art and similar creative majors. 

Adobe offers special pricing on this software for students and teachers at $19.99 per month for the first year of subscription and $29.99 per month after that. This is an attractive offer compared to the $52.99 per month that non-students or teachers pay for this software suite, but still a considerable investment. 

Marissa Elkins, a sophomore studying creative media and communication studies, spoke on the value she saw in the implementation of this software across campus. Elkins has already purchased a subscription this year to the Adobe Creative Cloud and Lynda for JCM 202, Introduction to Post Production. The location of her off-campus housing made commuting for homework an unfeasible option. 

Creative Cloud features Photoshop and Lightroom for photo processing and editing; Premiere Rush and Premiere Pro for video production; Illustrator for graphics; InDesign for page design and layout; Dimension for creating 3D images; Dreamweaver for developing websites; and Audition for recording and mixing audio. The suite includes over 20 distinct applications that cover every creative field. 

To activate their free subscription, students can visit on the day of the launch. OIT will be celebrating at the Adobe Launch event on Sept. 12 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Ferguson Center Plaza and encourages all students to join.