Microsoft DreamSpark™ program launched on Feb 19, 2008 in United States, the United Kingdom, China, Germany, France, Finland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Belgium with the goal of jumpstarting the student developer with an offering of developer tools, at no cost. DreamSpark program has since  expanded with a high school offering and grown to over 100 countries and now offers over 23 software titles, besides training.

In January 2012,   DreamSpark program was combined with MSDNAA  resulting in 3 offerings:

  1. Traditional DreamSpark that is a direct-to-student (B2C) offering
    • Only students are licensed to download and install this software on their personal PCs
    • Continues to be a no-cost download offering for students and
    • DreamSpark includes full-featured software  - i.e. these are not evaluation copies and there is no time-bomb.
    • Currently there are 23 titles including Visual Studio 2010 Professional, Expression Studio 4 Ultimate, Windows Server 2008 R2 Std, SQL Server 2008 R2 Developer,  XNA Game Studio 4, Robotics Developer Studio and Pluralsight OnDemand training access for 90 days.
  2. Institution-wide DreamSpark subscription is a through institution offering (B2B), that is open to any educational institution, including high schools
    • This is a new subscription that licenses an educational institution to distribute DreamSpark development and design products across the institution's labs (using lab licenses) and to all students and faculty for installation on their personal PCs.
    • Includes the same 23 software titles as the direct to student DreamSpark offer
    • Does not include Windows 7, Project, Visio, OneNote, etc (such titles are only available to STEM departments through the DreamSpark Premium subscription)
    • Costs $99/- per year to cover the license costs for all Institution PCs.  labs and personal PCs of students & faculty.
    • License provides perpetual rights to the software – i.e. once eligible students install the software on their personal PCs, they can continue to use the software for non-commercial use even when they are no longer a students
    • Subscription Agreement restricts software for non-commercial, academic usage for  teaching and research https://www.dreamspark.com/licensing/Basic-EULA.aspx
    • Institution-wide programs such as the IT Academy may include this Institution-wide DreamSpark subscription as a benefit, at no cost.
    • The Designer AA and High School AA have been discontinued and replaced with this new institution wide DreamSpark. However, existing Designer and High School customers’ subscriptions will run thru term.  Microsoft will continue to support these offers thru January 2015 (customer support, software shipments, etc.).  At the conclusion of the subscription term, these customer will be offered the DreamSpark subscription renewal path.
  3. DreamSpark Premium – that is a through Institution offer, restricted to STEM departments.
    • This is similar to the MSDNAA Developer (Developer AA) offering which has now been rebranded DreamSpark Premium, yet retains all the same software offerings, benefits and rules.
    • Includes all Microsoft software of over 300 titles but excluding Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Games.
    • Software is licensed only to eligible STEM department labs, staff, faculty and students enrolled in a course in the member STEM department.
    • Subscription Agreement restricts software for non-commercial, academic usage for  teaching and research  in STEM departments: https://www.dreamspark.com/licensing/Premium-EULA.aspx
    • License provides perpetual rights to the software – i.e. once eligible students install the software on their personal PCs, they can continue to use the software for non-commercial use even when they are no longer a students in a STEM course
    • Any eligible STEM department can sign-up for DreamSpark Premium

For more information about this program and how it works, review the DreamSpark frequently asked questions or contact DreamSpark Support at https://www.dreamspark.com/Support/ContactUs.aspx