Students at the University of Connecticut will now have to pay for the once-free Adobe Creative Cloud, said Michael Mundrane, Vice President and Chief Information Officer at University Information Technology Services (UITS).
“Adobe showed some real flexibility,” Mundrane said. “The price that we have received is better than the first-year price under the normal Adobe academic pricing and much better than year two pricing.”
According to Adobe’s web page, Creative Cloud includes programs such as Photoshop, an image editing tool, InDesign, which allows users to create page layouts for digital and print publishing and Dreamweaver, a tool for developing websites and applications.
Computers in library labs have these programs installed for student use, Mundrane said. The provision of this software allowed students to download Creative Cloud onto their personal computers.
Mundrane attributed the change to “an ongoing negotiation with Adobe to provide software to students.”
Through the UConn Software Catalogue, students can purchase Creative Cloud access for $84 for the Fall or Spring terms, and $26 for the Summer (access for which is available from the day after Spring Semester to the day before the following Fall Semester). They can also purchase a one year software license (starting and ending on the first day of Fall Semester) for $194, according to the UITS website.
The Adobe website provides a subscription at a rate of $19.99 per month for the first year, and $29.99 per month for subsequent years, available to any student. There is also an option to purchase a one-year subscription costing $239.88 for year one and $359.88 for each following year, according to Adobe.
Mundrane said the current pricing for UConn students is less costly than the standard student subscription.
“The four-year cost based on the program we have implemented is 40 percent less than their cost would be if they purchased the software themselves at discounted Adobe academic pricing,” Mundrane said. “For a student that only needs the software for one course for one year, our one semester cost is 65 percent less than standard Adobe first-year academic pricing.”
However, even with the reduced price, certain students said they disliked the changes to the system.
Camryn Hafner, a first-semester communications major, said she was “disheartened” by this change and the added cost for students.
“While I already had the software prior to coming to UConn, I immediately felt bad for others who would be required to use it for classes,” Hafner said. “Digital media and design majors are likely to need Photoshop at some point in their careers. Business or communication majors with an emphasis on marketing would certainly find Dreamweaver an important tool.”
Hafner added that professors can rely on non-Adobe products with the same results.
“There are plenty of alternative programs in circulation. While their quality and capabilities may not be up to par with the apps in Creative Cloud, their functions are similar enough to produce a comparable product,” Hafner said. “I would encourage professors to either allow the use of cheaper [or] free alternative products in their classrooms, or to have computers with the software available for community use for assignments.”
Dr. Stephen Stifano, a professor of communications at UConn, said that while he acknowledges UITS has been fighting for a better deal for students, such alternative products may be more prominent in UConn’s classrooms.
“We’re all between a rock and a hard place, here – if Adobe can’t lower their costs enough to subsidize a new wave of creators cutting their teeth on the Creative Cloud, everyone ends up making compromises,” Stifano said. “In turn, faculty and students will need to consider other software options to create content and develop their skills.”
Adobe’s inability to compromise may even result in a draining market for the company, Stifano said.
“Perhaps in the long term, this will affect Adobe’s user base and bottom line,” Stifano said. “For now, creative students are faced with the unfortunate reality of treating the Creative Cloud subscription as another textbook they need to purchase for their work.”
Sachin Menon is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. They can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.