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The Best Paid Educational Software For Students In 2020

Getting ready for virtual classes? As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, it might be best for students and teachers to opt for virtual classes. Check out our list of the best educational software for students in 2020. 

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If you just bought a new laptop or if you’re planning to buy one, (make sure you read our list of the best laptops in 2020) we understand you’ll be looking for the best educational software to use. While there are free versions available, however, if you’re serious about your craft, the paid ones still offer the best quality service. 

It’s no surprise that educational software is the next expensive thing to purchase after a laptop. However, paying for good software can be a good investment. That is if you’re into the creative space like photography, design, video production, etc. 

For this reason, we gathered some best paid educational software to help you navigate a wide variety of choices. So, without further ado, here is our list of the best-paid student/educational software in 2020.

Microsoft Office 365 

The best productivity tool for students.

Platform: macOS, Windows | Uses: Writing documents, spreadsheets, and presentations | 30-Day free trial | Storage: 1TB | 

  • Free for students
  • Extensive tools
  • Expensive (after free-trial expiration) 
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When you’re a student, everyone would tell you to work harder. However, it’s not really working hard that gets you the biggest results. It’s actually working smarter. That means, to become really productive, you need productivity software to help you plan your activities. 

Microsoft Office 365 is a serious software package. In fact, it’s widely used in the business space. However, because you’re a student, Microsoft is currently offering it for free. It’s called Microsoft Office 365 Education.   

The package includes Microsoft Word for creating documents, Microsoft Excel for spreadsheets, Microsoft Powerpoint for presentations, OneNote for taking notes, and Outlook for emails. While it includes all of Microsoft productivity apps, the fun doesn’t stop there. 

The package lets you sign online from any device to organize your work wherever you are. Probably the best part, you get up to 1TB of cloud storage. 

Adobe Photoshop

The best educational software for students studying design and photo editing. 

  • Industry Standard tool 
  • A wide array of useful tools 
  • Requires subscription 

Platform: Mac, Windows, iPad | Used for: Photo editing, image manipulation, app, and web prototyping, 3D modeling | 7 days free trial 

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Adobe Photoshop is popular software. In fact, it’s considered as an industry standard for graphic design, image manipulation, app and web prototyping, and 3D modeling. For this reason, students who are taking up graphic design, photography, digital art, marketing, web design, illustration, etc. will find it very useful. 

This educational software is available for subscription. However, it doesn’t have student discounts with individual software. The cheapest way to get Photoshop is to subscribe to the Creative Cloud Photography plan. By doing so, you’ll gain access to Lightroom CC, Lightroom Classic, and Photoshop CC. 

Fortunately, Adobe is giving away huge student discounts if you subscribe to the Creative Cloud’s all-app subscription. That’s not all! You can gain access to at least 50 more tools in the Creative Cloud arsenal. 

Affinity Photo

Subscription-based photo editing and design software. 

Platform: Windows, Mac, iPad | Used for: Photo editing and manipulation, web and app prototyping, graphic design and photo retouching | 30-days free trial 

  • Affordable
  • No student discount available
  • Not on par with Adobe Photoshop

Affinity Photo is a decent photo editing software that works well with photo manipulation, graphic design, and photo retouching. On the other hand, it’s not as feature-rich compared to Photoshop. However, it’s a cheaper alternative. 

Unfortunately, this educational software doesn’t give student discounts, but it’s offering it at a fraction of a cost. They’re offering it at $50 / £49 on Mac and Windows while $20 /£20 for iOS. It almost like a bargain. 

If you’re into the graphic design, marketing, and photography space, Affinity Photo is a decent software that isn’t very complicated. 

Adobo Illustrator

The best educational software for vector graphic illustrations. 

Platform: Mac, Windows | Used for Vector graphic designs and illustrations | 7-day free trial 

  • Continuous update
  • Rich in features
  • Superior software
  • Huge student discounts
  • No free trial 
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Adobe Illustrator is a leading industry standard in creating vector graphics. It’s a very able software for everything vector. Students in the creative space can create small icons to more advanced illustrations. 

It’s available for Mac and Windows. However, the iPad version is set to be available any time soon. If you’re into the creative space like art, design, and illustration, this tool is something worth investigating. 

There’s more! Currently, Adobe, the company behind this amazing tool, is offering huge student discounts on the creative cloud. Illustrator is a part of it, along with 50 other useful tools. Monthly subscription ranges from $19.99 / £16.24 in the first year. 

Keep in mind that for the Illustrator software alone, it can be more than the package without a huge discount. 

Affinity Designer

The best subscription-free educational software for vector illustration. 

Platform: Windows, Mac, iPad | Used for: Vector graphics design, illustration | 30-days free trial 

  • Affordable
  • No subscription needed 
  • 30-day free trial
  • Doesn’t come with a student discount 
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The Affinity Designer is Affinity Photo’s sister app, but it’s subscription-free. This software is a restricted alternative to Adobe Illustrator. It comes with a lot of unique features, which include the one million percent zoom. 

You can download the Affinity Designer for $49.99/£48.99 for Mac and Windows and $19.99/£19.99 for iOS devices. Unfortunately, they’re not offering a student discount. However, they have a 30-day free trial. 


The best educational software for digital design. However, it’s only available on Mac.

Platform: Mac | Used: Digital Prototyping | 30-Days Free Trial 

  • Mac optimized
  • Industry-standard 
  • 50% for students 
  • Only available on Mac 
Cult of Mac

Sketch is a very competent software for vector editing. In fact, it’s a go-to tool for digital designers, web designers, and interface designers for almost a decade. While it has a long-standing competition with Adobe XD, Sketch is a powerful tool worthy of trying at least once. 

Currently, Sketch is priced at $99.99 to download, comes with a free trial and free license for educational institutions. Here’s the good part! If you’re a student or a teacher, you can avail of a 50% discount. You only need to present your ID to qualify. 

Adobe InDesign

The best educational software for desktop publishing. 

Platform: Mac, Windows | Used for: Desktop publishing | 7 days free trial 

  • Industry leader 
  • Feature-rich
  • Professional tool
  • Subscription 
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In the Desktop publishing space, Adobe InDesign is considered an industry standard. It’s often used to create posters, magazines, presentations, newspapers, ebooks, flyers, social media images, and others. Likewise, it’s a popular tool among book publishers and marketing professionals. 

That said, it’s a great tool for students taking up graphic design, marketing, and more especially with print publishing. It’s important to note that student discounts don’t apply in InDesign alone. However, it’s a good thing that it’s part of the Creative Cloud, which is way cheaper. 

This gives you access not just to InDesign but to 50 other creative software. It’s affordable! In fact, it’s currently priced at $19.99/£16.24 monthly subscription on student prices. 

Affinity Publisher

Great subscription-free software for desktop publishing. 

Platform: Mac, Windows | Used for: Desktop Publishing | 30-day free trial 

  • Professional tool
  • No subscription 
  • Affordable 
  • Not on par with Adobe InDesign 
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Affinity Publisher was only released last year, but it got some powerful stuff going on. In fact, it got a professional-quality print output including master pages, tables, grids, facing page, text flows, and advanced typography. 

It works interoperably with other tools in the Affinity brand such as Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer. However, just like the two, Affinity Publisher doesn’t give student discounts, but they are available for a very affordable price. 

Right now, for a one-time fee, you only need to pay $49.99/£48.99. 

Autodesk Maya

Platform: Mac, Windows, Linux | Used for: 3D modeling, rendering, and animation | 30-day free trial 

  • Industry-standard
  • Feature-rich
  • Offer free use for students
  • Free for non-commercial use only
Creative Cow

Are you thinking about working on the post-production side of the TV and movie industry? If so, you might be interested in the software used by big animation studios like Framestore, ILM, and Pixar. 

Yes, that’s right. Autodesk Maya is a 3D software that offers powerful features for rendering, modeling, simulation, texturing, and other useful animation tools. While it doesn’t come cheap, the good thing is you can take advantage of the free version for one year as long as you’re a student. 

That being said, the company only allows students to use the software for educational purposes. 

3ds Max

Platform: Windows | Used for: rendering, animation, and 3D modeling | 30 days free trial 

  • Superb features 
  • Industry-standard
  • Free for students and educational purposes 
  • Only available for Windows 

3ds Max is actually a sister of Autodesk Maya. It’s a very capable software for 3D modeling and animation. It also works well with animation rendering and visualization. But that doesn’t end there. 

Actually, the 3ds Max is a must-have for students taking up design, VFX, animation, architectural visualization, and even VR experiences. Remember, this is free for students and educational purposes.