Sign in with Microsoft
Sign in or create an account.
Select a different account.
You have multiple accounts
Choose the account you want to sign in with.
Manage graduating student licenses and content in Microsoft 365 Education

As a Microsoft 365 global or user management administrator for your school, you handle the Microsoft 365 licensing needs of your students. As students leave or graduate, you can reassign their licenses back to your license pool or to incoming students. You also have options for helping graduating students manage their old emails, contacts and files. For example, you can assign free Exchange Online for Alumni licenses to graduating students so that they can keep their school email for life. Assigning alumni licenses to graduating students will free up more Office 365 Education licenses for the incoming class without ordering more licenses.


Tip: Learn more about assigning licenses to students as an IT Admin

What happens when you reassign a student license in Microsoft 365

In Office 365 Education, users need licenses to use Exchange Online, OneDrive for work or school, Skype for Business Online and other online services, as well as the Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise applications such as Outlook, PowerPoint, Excel, and Word on their devices.

When you reclaim an Office 365 Education license by reassigning it back to the license pool, the student loses access to Exchange Online, OneDrive, and all other M365 Applications. This means:

  • All data associated with that student mailbox is held for 30 days with the exception of data held with Legal Hold, which is kept for the duration of the hold.

  • After the 30-day grace period, the mailbox data is deleted and can’t be recovered.

  • The user’s OneDrive will NOT be deleted. For more information, see: OneDrive retention and deletion. 

When an Office 365 Education license is reassigned back into your license pool:

  • Students with Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise installed on their device will experience reduced functionality.

  • Unlicensed product notifications will pop up until they activate a Microsoft 365 subscription.

Recommended Actions

If your school is going to assign the free Exchange Online for Alumni licenses to graduating students, there are no further actions students need to take regarding their emails. However, regarding their files and desktop applications, these steps are recommended:

  • Let students know that after they graduate, they will lose access to any online services and personal documents that are associated with their school account and stored in OneDrive for work or school.

  • Provide students a step-by-step guide to moving personal documents from their school-provided OneDrive for work or school to a location they manage, such as a local drive, a USB drive or another OneDrive. For more information on how to get OneDrive, see: Get OneDrive on your device.

  • Inform students that, even after leaving school, they can still access and edit documents they moved from their school OneDrive by using free Microsoft 365 for the web.

  • Reassign graduating student licenses back to your license pool during your normal post school year systems upkeep processes.

  • Remove the OneDrive using Remove-SPOSite and Remove-SPODeletedSite in PowerShell. For more information, see: Remove-SPOSite and Remove-SPODeletedSite.

Related Topics

Assign licenses to users

Get OneDrive on your device

Need more help?

Want more options?

Explore subscription benefits, browse training courses, learn how to secure your device, and more.

Communities help you ask and answer questions, give feedback, and hear from experts with rich knowledge.

Was this information helpful?

What affected your experience?
By pressing submit, your feedback will be used to improve Microsoft products and services. Your IT admin will be able to collect this data. Privacy Statement.

Thank you for your feedback!