Ultimate List: Plugin Student Discounts

Ultimate List: Plugin Student Discounts

The best educational discounts for students for audio VST plugins

Christof Baer
Christof Baer
last updated this article on 
June 26, 2022
 and first floated it on 
May 3, 2021

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TL;DR Top Tip: The top 5 plugin and DAW deals for students and teachers

  1. FL Studio (by Image Line) - up to 50%
  2. FabFilter - 50%
  3. iZotope - 50%
  4. Soundtoys - 50%
  5. Xfer Serum - 30%

The ultimate guide to educational and student discounts for plugins

There are many brilliant VST plugins available for synths, effects, and utilities. But they don't come cheap, particularly if you are just starting out in music production or beat making as a student. Luckily, many software companies offer discounts on plugins of up to 66% for students and teachers, oftentimes exceeding discounts offered in their sales available to everyone. Yet the rules can be complicated:

  • Does the plugin company offer an educational discount for students and teachers?
  • What is the discount offered?
  • Which products are included? Are bundles and subscriptions available at a discount?
  • Who is eligible, students only, or also their parents and teachers?
  • Which educational establishments qualify for educational discounts?
  • What is the application process?
  • What documentation is required to obtain the student discount?
  • Are there limitations to the license, such as limited features, or the ability to upgrade or resell?

So we researched the most popular VST, AU and AAX plugin brands to help you find the cheapest way to get your hands on brilliant instruments, effects and DAWs.

The Best Audio Plugin Deals right now - our ultimate guide to the best sales and deals right now

Overview

Student and educational discounts are offered by the following plug in brands

Sign up to the musicmanta newsletter, and we will send you regular updates on new student (and non-student) deals and discounts. Plus, you will receive a free 130 MB sample pack, exclusive competitions, the latest news and reviews, and much more.

The following brands do not offer any individual student or educational discounts

Are you missing your favourite plugin brand in the list, which offers discounts to students? Help others by sending us an email with the details, and we will include them in our next update.

Ableton - 40% Discount

You can buy Ableton Live 11 at 40% discount as a student or teacher

Products

Eligibility

  • Students: Currently enrolled in educational studies with at least 20 hours per week, in any area of study. Parents can buy licenses for their child.
  • Teachers: Currently employed at a school or university in any field, working at least 20 hours per week.

Limitations

  • There are no limitations on features
  • Educational licenses for Ableton Live can be upgraded at regular discounted pricing offered to users - no further educational discounts on upgrades.
  • You can only sell an educational license to others who qualify for the educational discount.

Application Process

  1. Check your eligibility.
  2. Buy the Ableton product at a discounted price from the Ableton Shop or other music stores.
  3. Upload your student/teacher ID, enrolment or employment letter to your user account.
  4. Install and authorise the program.

Further Details

Educational License FAQ

Do you want to find the cheapest ways to buy Ableton Live 11 with up to 56% off? Then check our 6-step guide to find the best Ableton Live for you.

Antares Auto-Tune - 50% Discount

Antares Auto-Tune is available to buy at 50% discount when you are a student

Products

All Antares products with perpetual license, including their popular Auto-Tune range, are included in the program. Subscriptions to Auto-Tune Unlimited are excluded.

Eligibility

Students and teachers in the following educational institutions are eligible to Antares educational discounts:

  • University/college: University or college that grants degrees that require at least one year of full-time study. Training facilities not offering degrees or diplomas are not eligible.
  • Secondary Schools: Schools providing full-time instruction for grades K-12.
  • Elementary/primary school students do not qualify for student discounts/pricing.

Limitations

Students and teachers are limited to one product approval per person.

Application Process

Apply with your documentation through the Antares academic verification page.

Further Details

There are extensive FAQ on the academic verification page.

AAS (Applied Acoustics Systems) - 50% Discount

Students can buy any AAS plugin, such as Lounge Lizard at 50% off

Products

All AAS products are included in the educational discount scheme and eligible for 50% discount.

Bundles
Individual Products

Eligibility and Application Process

You simply email AAS support. When I contacted them, they were really uncomplicated and friendly. They offered to send me a discounted invoice to pay via PayPal or credit card, in return for a license for any product at 50% discount.

Audified - 60%

Audified Mix Checker, available at a huge 60% off when you are a student

Products

All products are included.

Eligibility and Application Process

  1. Prepare your documentation, such as scanning your student or teacher ID, or by sending an email from an educational domain explaining your position
  2. Open a support ticket with Audified, attaching your documents

After verification, you will receive a personal discount code that you can apply to future purchases in the Audified shop.

Acustica Audio - 20%

Acustica Audio products attract a 20% student discount

Products

All single products are eligible for the 20% student discount, including Nebula, Acqua and Modula. Bundles are excluded.

Eligibility

The discount is available to all current students and teachers enrolled in audio engineering courses, telecommunication engineering degrees or related music production studies.

Limitations

  • Educational products are only available for full and single products.
  • Educational discounts cannot be used to purchase upgrades, add-on packs, or bundles, and cannot be combined with other promotion, such as Summer Sale, Black Friday, and Christmas promotional campaigns.
  • Students may purchase each Acustica Audio product only once.
  • Educational discounts are for personal use and cannot be redistributed or resold.

Application Process

To request an educational discount, submit a ticket to the Acustica support team with the following information:

  • A copy of your valid student or teacher identification or equivalent document from your educational institution. The document or identification must contain the requester's first name, last name, and expiration date.
  • List of products you wish to purchase.
  • Your user-name in Aquarius, the free download manager from Acustica Audio (with example@example.com syntax).

Further Details

Find out more about the Acustica Audio education discount policy in the knowledge base.

AVID - up to 66%

AVID Protools - students get 50% off for the perpetual license, and 66% off the Protools subscription.

Products

Eligibility

Students and teachers in the following educational institutions are eligible to AVID Protools educational discounts:

  • University/college: Higher education institution is defined as an accredited, government-recognized public or private university or college that grants degrees and/or certificates.
  • Secondary Schools: An accredited, government-recognized public or private secondary school providing full-time instruction.

For full eligibility details, check the AVID website.

Limitations

Students and teachers are limited to one product approval per individual per year.

Application Process

You can buy an academic license through the AVID website, which then includes submission and verification of your documents, such as a copy of your student ID.

Further Details

AVID have a full FAQ on their academic products.

Baby Audio - 45%*

Baby Audio Spaced Out for 45% off - when you are a student

Products

Baby Audio is an innovative software house best known for the free Magic Switch plugin, TAIP*, and Smooth Operator*. The level of student discount isn't published on the website, so I asked the Baby Audio support. They confirmed they offer a 45% discount on all their plugins:

Eligibility and Application Process

Simply email Baby Audio support and attach proof of educational status (copy of student ID etc.) and you will be sent a coupon code.

Further Details

Baby Audio FAQ*.

Cableguys - 30%

Cableguys Shape 2 modulation magic could be yours for 30% less as a student.

Products

Cableguys offers 30% discounts for students on all their products:

Eligibility and Application Process

Simply email Cableguys and attach proof of educational status (copy of student ID etc.) to receive 30% discount.

Further Details

Cableguys FAQ*.

Fabfilter - 50%

FabFilter Pro Q 3, and all FabFilter plugins, attract a 50% student discount

Products

FabFilter offers a 50% student discount/educational discount on all its products.

Eligibility

Students and music teachers are eligible for the 50% FabFilter discounts

Application Process

  • Scan your educational proof document (such as a student card or enrolment letter).
  • Complete the application form attach your document, and submit it
  • FabFilter will assess your application and, if granted, create a FabFilter account marked Educational.
  • If you log in to that account, your prices in the FabFilter shop will show the 50% discount.

Limitations

  • The discount will apply for one year, but you can extend this by submitting a new document.
  • There are no restrictions on the number of plugins you can buy at a discount - there is nothing stopping you from buying the Total bundle of all FabFilter plugins at half price.
  • Licenses will be Not For Resale (NFR), preventing you from selling the plugins by license transfer.

Further Details

The education discount is one of the cheapest ways to buy FabFilter plugins. FabFilter have a section in their FAQ about educational discounts.

I also wrote an article outlining many other ways to buy FabFilter for up to 60% discount.

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Image Line FL Studio - up to 50%

The FL Studio Signature Bundle is only $199 for students - 50% the regular price of $399

Products

The top of the range FL Studio Signature Bundle* is available as a special Academic Bundle, matching all its features. You can only buy the Academic Bundle from 3rd party sellers, not directly from Image Line. Discounts seem to vary by country, with best discounts offered in the US, at the time of writing:

  • USA: $199 (33% off $299)
  • UK: £159 (31% off £230)
  • Europe: €189 (32% off €269)

You can buy the Academic Bundle from the following retailers:

Eligibility

Both students and teachers qualify for the FL Studio Academic Bundle.

Application Process

You can only buy the FL Studio Academic Bundle through an official FL Studio reseller.

  • Documents showing you are a student or teacher will only be verified as part of the purchase process.
  • The documents required depend on the reseller. Normally this includes a valid student or faculty ID card, or employment contract with a school.

Limitations

  1. If your Student status changes, you will need to upgrade to a full license for an additional upgrade fee of $49.
  2. You are not allowed to commercialize (sell, rent) music you make in an academic version of FL Studio.

Further Details

Take a look at the FL Studio Q&A on student discounts for further information.

iZotope - 50%

The Izotope Academic Store includes Ozone, RX, Neutron, and more for 50% off for students.

Products

Most iZotope products are available at 50% discount at Plugin Boutique. Upgrades are excluded.

Some of the most popular products in the academic store include:

Check out the whole iZotope EDU education range on Plugin Boutique* if you fancy a different iZotope plugin at 50% off.

Eligibility

Student, staff and students are eligible for the academic discount.

Application Process

Verification of academic status is conducted by emailing the Education Support at Plugin Boutique your proof of education. The easiest way to get verified is using a .edu email address, but you can also submit student or staff ID documents.

Limitations

There are no feature limitations. Discounts do not apply to upgrades or add-on packs.

Further Details

Find out details in the iZotope academic discount policy.

Native Instruments - 50% off Reaktor 6 only

Reaktor 6 is the only Native Instruments plugin eligible for a student discount.

Products

The only product with an educational discount is Reaktor 6. With 50% discount, the Reaktor 6 $199 full price is reduced to $99.

None of the Komplete range, Traktor, Komplete hardware, or Maschine hardware is offered at a student discount.

Eligibility and Application Process

You can simply purchase the education version of Reaktor 6 at 50% discount in the Native Instruments shop. As part of the purchase process, you will need to register for student status.

Further Details

Native Instruments Education Program.

Output - 30%

Output Exhale, only $139 with 30% student discount.

Products

All main Output engines, both instruments and effects, are offered with a 30% student discount.

Eligibility

  • Students past high school age enrolled in paid education
  • Educators
  • Military

Application Process

Complete the application form and include:

  • Scanned proof of enrolment.
  • Name and email.
  • Name of the school.

Output will review the application and if approved, provide a 30% student/academic/military coupon code to redeem in the Output Shop.

Limitations

Expansions, subscription to Arcade, bundles, upgrades, items on sale, and hardware are excluded.

Further Details

Output covers educational discounts in the FAQ.

Spitfire Audio - 40%

Hans Zimmer Strings, one of many Spitfire Audio plugins available for 40% student discount

Products

All libraries are eligible for a 40% student discount, but only in September and October. Multiple products can be bought once you have been granted student status. Collections however are not included.

Eligibility

  • Student or teachers at any accredited institution.
  • Supporting documentation is required, such as student ID cards and acceptance letters for students, and redacted contracts of employment or staff ID cards for teachers.
  • Supporting documentation must be dated within 30 days of the application, or in the case of ID cards, have an expiry date in the future.

Application Process

  1. Scan your supporting documents (such as ID card).
  2. Log in to your account or register for an account.
  3. Go to the application form and select up to 5 products (you can make further applications if you want to buy more).
  4. Attach your supporting documents and submit.

Limitations

There are no limitations to the products or license granted. You can purchase as many libraries as you like, and can use the libraries for commercial purposes.

Further Details

Spitfire Audio Q&A on educational discounts.

Soundtoys - 50%

Soundtoys Effect Rack, included in the Soundtoys Bundle at 50% discount for students

Products

You can only buy the Soundtoys Bundle at 50% discount. No single products are included in the academic offer.

Eligibility

  • Students of any subject are eligible for the discount.
  • Teachers will need to use Soundtoys in their teaching.

Application Process

  1. Obtain an ilok account or gather your existing ilok log in details (email and password).
  2. Scan your document, such as student or teacher ID, or enrolment letter.
  3. Complete the application form, including uploading your scanned document, and pay.
  4. Once your application and order is processed, Soundtoys will send you a license code.

Limitations

There are no limitations in terms of features, and the license does not expire when you finish studying. There are no restrictions on commercial use, so you can make millions writing the next track for Ed Sheeran with your academic license you want.

Further Details

Soundtoys have a dedicated page in their Q&A answering questions.

Waves - 35%*

The Waves Schoeps Omni Channel is included in the Waves student discount offer

Products

All individual plugins and bundles, apart from Abbey Road Studio 3, are eligible for a 35% discount off MRSP (Manufacturer Recommended Selling Price).

⚠️ CAUTION: Based on Waves discount policy, which sees them offer 75% to 90% discount off an inflated MRSP pretty much all the time, musicmanta recommends you buy Waves plugins in a regular sale instead, or save even more during Black Friday.

Eligibility

  • Students and faculty members are eligible for the Waves student discount.

Application Process

  1. Scan your student/faculty ID from a recognized educational institution or a Waves-certified institution.
    School ID must contain expiration or enrolment dates. Faculty members can submit a letter from HR confirming their employment or a recent payment document (with all personal information blacked out).
  2. Scan an additional official identification (i.e. driver’s license or passport).
  3. Complete the Waves student/faculty discount application form*.
  4. Include your physical billing address.
  5. Provide your Waves login name.

Limitations

  • Students may purchase each Waves plugin or bundle only once.
  • Student discounts cannot be combined with any other offer or promotion.

Further Details

Waves provide extra information on their student discount page.

Xfer Serum - 30%

Products

All Xfer products are included and available at 30% discount.

  • Serum: $132.30 (30% off $189)
  • Nerve: $139.30 (30% off $199)
  • Cthulu: $27.30 (30% off $39)
  • LFO Tool: $34.97 (30% off $49.95)

Eligibility

Students between 5 and 18 years old are eligible.

Application Process

Complete the student discount request form, and attach an image of your enrolment letter of student ID.

Further Details

You can find answers on student discounts from Steve Duda in his Xfer forum.

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