How to buy academic Power BI licences – a step-by-step guide

There are a number of ways of buying Academic Power BI licences, so I thought I’d write a quick summary to help people, as I have had the question a few times recently from customers and partners. We make it easy to buy Power BI licences for commercial customers straight from the Power BI website, but for education customers, there’s a different route that gets you the special discounted license. (BTW I’m not a licensing expert, so there may be other ways of buying academic Power BI licences that I’ve not covered, so feel free to add more info via comments on this blog post!)

I’ll start by assuming you know what Power BI is, or you’ve been working with the free version available at If you’ve not got that far, then have a read of my story ‘Using Power BI for Education Analytics in schools’ to see some ideas of what you can do with it.

Buying academic Power BI licences from your Microsoft partner

In Australia, most of our education customers have an EES licence agreement (Enrolment for Education Solutions) to buy academic licences of Microsoft software and our online services, at pricing significantly lower than commercial pricing. You can simply add Power BI licences to that agreement by talking with your Microsoft licensing partner – or getting your IT manager to do it. Although this is a fairly straightforward process, it isn’t instant – it can take a few days to set it up. But the advantage is that the licences are managed as part of your overall agreement, and you get the best academic price. The academic ERP will be around $3 a user a month.

The normal commercial pricing for Power BI Pro in Australia is $12.70 a month (you can get this on this Power BI pricing page, after you’ve changed the currency to Australian dollars). If you want to buy a commercial licence, then you can click the ‘Purchase’ button that sits below the price (I’ve hidden it here, because I definitely don’t want you clicking it!)


Buying Academic Power BI licences through your Office 365 portal

The instant way to buy academic Power BI licences is through your Office 365 administrator portal. Whilt it looks longer, it’s because I’ve listed every click! Typically in your school or university there will be a few people that have access to your Office 365 admin portal, but they may not know how easy it is for them to add Power BI licences through it. Basically, it’s a few clicks, and you’ve got immediate licences you can start using.

Here’s the walk through of how to do it:

Step 1: Login to the Office 365 Admin portal at, or if you are already logged into Office 365, go to the app menu in the top left hand corner, click and select the Admin tile. If you don’t see the Admin tile, then you’ll need to find a person in your organisation that is one of your Office 365 admins.


Step 2: Select Purchase Services from the left hand menu (it’s near the bottom)


Step 3: Under “Other Plans”, look for Power BI Pro for faculty – it’s $2.90 a month
Ignore the one that says “Power BI Pro” at $12.70. That’s the full commercial price, so you don’t want that one!


Step 4: Click “Buy now


Step 5: Select how many user licences you want, and whether you want to pay monthly or for the year in advance, and then click Add to Cart
I think it makes sense to select a full year ($34.80 user/year) so that you’re not creating more work every month.


Step 6: After clicking Next, you then get to choose how to pay. Although you can pay through credit card, you’ll probably just change the drop down to “By Invoice”, so that it gets billed the normal way we bill you.


Step 7: Click Order and that’s it – you’ll have the new Academic licences for Power BI in your Office 365 tenant.

Now you can allocate them to users. From the main Admin menu in Office 365, you select Users, then Active Users, and tick alongside the ones you want to give the licences to and click “Edit”. On the third screen you can allocate your licences to those users. (I’ve covered this briefly because I think your admin will already know how to allocate licenses through the portal. But if you need more info, read this support article)

I feel it’s right to add a disclaimer here: all this info was correct as I sat and wrote it this evening, on 6th Jan 2016. It might change tomorrow, so also check out any comments on this blog post too!