Free Software for College Students

With the increasing competitiveness in the software industry, the free software market has shown a massive expansion. There is a whole bunch of stuff you can get for free as a student, which is followed by a longer list of student discounts and deals. Let’s dig right in!


Tableau is an interactive data visualization software. It’s mainly used as a visual analytics platform to help with business decision making. However, the smooth learning curve and the ability to produce publication grade charts and diagrams makes it a really handy tool for students in any discipline.

Tableau offers a free student license for Tableau Desktop (data visualization), Tableau Prep (data cleaning) and their e-learning platform. The license is valid for one year and can be renewed by applying again.


Notion is one of those apps I didn’t know I needed until I finally tried it out. Notion is hard to explain, mainly because it doesn’t fit in a single category. It’s a cross platform app which can be used for notetaking, docs, tasks, projects and even as a personal database.

Notion offers their personal-pro plan free for students. You can have multiple workspaces for your notes, research and tasks and even use notion as a blog site.


Lucidchart is a diagramming tool that can be used to draw all kinds of charts and diagrams. It’s very user friendly and flexible, and lets you export your diagrams in multiple formats.

The free-for-students edition limits you to 3 editable diagrams, but that isn’t usually a problem. Lucidchart is available as a web app.


If you ever have the need to design a social graphic, resume or a brochure, Canva has you covered. Canva is a graphic design platform, used to create social media graphics, presentations, posters, documents, and other visual content.

A free one-year premium subscription of Canva is available through the GitHub Student Developer Pack. You can get access to Canva and about one hundred more products by signing up for this pack.


getAbstract is a collection of over 22,000 business books, articles, and video talks compressed into 10-minute summaries. It’s a service that that summarizes content for business customers.

Book summaries don’t essentially replace books, but they can be useful. As a college student, you are eligible for their free Student Sarter Plan.

Mathpix Snip

Ever had to manually type out an equation to copy it from a pdf into your document? You don’t have to. Mathpix Snip is a tool which can convert images and PDFs to LaTeX, DOCX, Overleaf, Markdown, Excel and more.

To get the free student offer just sign up with your school email address. Your account will then be automatically upgraded to the student plan!

And more…

The list is long, so I’ll switch to point form.

  • GitHub Student Developer Pack — A collection of over one hundred free software titles for students (mainly dev tools).
  • Office 365 — Microsoft office for students. A word of caution; your school has the administrative privileges in this one and can monitor some of your activity.
  • Azure Dev Tools for Teaching — Includes many products like Microsoft Visio (diagrams), Microsoft Project (project management), Windows and $100 in in Microsoft Azure credit.
  • YNAB — A personal finance management software with a unique approach to budgeting. Free for one year.
  • JetBrains — Free licenses for JetBrains IDEs (PyCharm, IntelliJ IDEA, WebStorm etc.)
  • Coursera — Not exactly software but you get one free course per year and unlimited guided projects if you sign up using your school email address.

In addition to that, some domain specific software companies offer student versions of their products. (e.g. Autodesk, PSCAD, Unity). Your institution might be providing free software as well. Some colleges provide access to MATLAB, LinkedIn Learning etc. So keep an eye on that!

How do I verify my student status?

While some companies require a copy of your student ID for verification, most of the time you can verify your academic status with your school email address. Companies are usually very flexible regarding student verification. If you do not have up-to-date documents, you can always email them and explain. wink. More often than not, they will approve these requests.

Free software. But why?

They say nothing in this world is free, so what’s the catch? Well, you’ll probably be inclined to buy their products later in life. But isn’t that a fair deal. XD




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