Microsoft 365, Licensing and Functionality, FAQ and Information

This page answers some frequently asked questions about Microsoft 365 Licensing and Office apps.

The following population will have access to an A1 license.

  • Civil service staff (trade crafts, building services, and food workers only)
  • Extra help
  • Academic and Grad hourlies
  • Retirees
  • Emeriti
  • Liminal
  • Allied

For more information on A1/A5 Microsoft licenses and features, including how licenses are assigned, please visit this Knowledge Base article.

  • Affected staff groups assigned an A1 license will no longer be able to personally download, install, or activate desktop versions of Microsoft Office apps on any device, including university-owned devices.
    • Desktop Office apps include Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Publisher, and Access.
  • Anyone enrolled as a student, regardless of staff group, will be assigned an A5 student license.
  • Postdocs will now transition to an A5 faculty/staff license.
  • Liminal is the classification for individuals who are either not fully onboarded or offboarded. Examples of this type include retirees who have worked their last day but have not yet been offboarded as retired in banner and employees who have been hired but have not started to work. 
  • Voicemail access and email inbox quotas will NOT be affected.
  • All faculty, staff, and students can continue to access online versions of Office apps, including Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and OneNote.

Departments have options to install the desktop Office apps for their users that are assigned an A1 license

  • Versions of Office 2016 and 2019 can be obtained from the WebStore for University of Illinois-owned computers
  • Departments can use device-based licensing to install the desktop version of the Office 365 apps. Device-based licensing is available at no additional cost, but only available on Windows devices.

Microsoft licenses 

Allow users access to Office apps, such as Outlook, Word, and Excel. They also allow access to Microsoft services, such as SharePoint, Teams, Stream, and OneDrive. These Microsoft apps and services allow people to be productive and to collaborate in real-time in many different ways. 

This year, Microsoft 365 licenses are available in different tiers:

  1. A5 for students
  2. A1 for faculty and staff
  3. A5 for faculty and staff

*The licenses will be assigned to users based on the user's classification with the University.

Microsoft 365 Licensing Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How can I check my license type?

A: There are two easy options to find out which license you've been assigned. Use your browser and login to In the upper-right corner, click your icon or photo, then click the "My account" link. This page will show which Microsoft licenses have been assigned to your account.

  • Option 1: Click "Subscriptions" in the left-side toolbar (fig 1).
Figure 1
  •  Option 2: Or you can click the "View subscriptions" link in the main window (Fig 2). 
Figure 2

Q: How are licenses assigned for Students?

A: Licenses are currently assigned to you and your unique ID. Students

will receive the A5 for Student license. Check here to Compare the features.

Q: How are licenses assigned for Faculty and Staff?

A: Licenses are currently assigned to you and your unique ID. For faculty and staff, Microsoft 365 licenses are assigned based on your employee type as it is recorded by HR. 

Check here to Compare the features.

Q: Do students have access to Office 365 Apps?

A: Everyone will have access to the web-based version of the Office 365 apps. Users with the A5 for Student license or the A5 for Faculty license will also be able to download and install the desktop version of the Office 365 apps. Departments have the option to use device-based licensing to install the desktop version of the Office 365 apps for users that are assigned an A1 license.

Q: Are Microsoft Access and Publisher available on device based activation?

A: Microsoft Access and Microsoft Publisher are included in the Office installation, regardless of whether it is activated by the device or the user.

Q: What do I do if I need something not on my subscription?

A: Your use of the service(s) is subject to the agreements your organization has with Microsoft. Your organization may have enabled you to use certain connected services in Office 365, which are covered by separate terms and privacy commitments. If you need help accessing a product or service, contact your IT department. 

Q: What will I experience if I lose my license?

A: The Office 365 desktop apps will verify your license level whenever your computer is online. In the event your license is changed to an A1 for Faculty license, you will not be able to create new files or edit existing files as the Office 365 app will be inactive. The error message will indicate the product is unlicensed (see below). Although the desktop apps are unavailable, all of the Office 365 "web-based" apps can be used regardless of license type.

Figure 3

Q: How can I change my license type?

A: An option to upgrade to an A5 license will be available through the WebStore if a department would prefer to provision an account with the A5 for Faculty license. License upgrades will require a C-FOAPAL for payment. The upgrades do incur some cost to the department and will require an annual renewal.

Q: Can I purchase my own subscription to Microsoft 365?

A: If you have a purchased a personal Microsoft 365 subscription, you WILL NOT be able to sign in to this subscription using your University credentials. These subscriptions are designed for use by the general public. You can sign in to the Office 365 Web App located at: using your University NetID and password. Retirees are also able to access their email using site.

(For Campus IT Pros):

Q: How do device-based subscriptions work? 

A: Departments have the option to use device-based licensing to install the desktop version of the Office 365 apps for users that are assigned an A1 license. Device-based licensing is only available on Microsoft machines.

Q: How can I find out a user's employee type?

A: Departments can contact their unit's HR department to verify a user's employee type. Some IT Pros will be able to get the employee type information by looking up the user's account in Active Directory.

Have Questions

If you have questions about Microsoft Licensing, please contact the support team at

KeywordsMicrosoft Office 365 License Download Email Exchange Mailbox Webstore Teams FAQ Frequently Asked Questions A1 A3 A5   Doc ID103394
OwnerOffice 3.GroupUniversity of Illinois Technology Services
Created2020-06-26 10:17:16Updated2024-04-23 11:52:07
SitesUniversity of Illinois System, University of Illinois Technology Services
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