As a Microsoft 365 global or user management admin for your school, you handle the Microsoft 365 licensing needs of your students. As students leave or graduate from your school, you can reassign those licenses back to your license pool, or reassign them to incoming students. You also have options for helping graduating students manage their old email, 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 an alumni license to a graduating student will free up Office 365 Education licenses for the incoming class without the need to order 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 a Office 365 Education license by reassigning it back to the license pool the student loses access to the online services and data, which means:

  • All data that is associated with that student account 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 data is deleted and can’t be recovered, except for documents that are saved in SharePoint Online sites.

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

  • Students who still have Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise installed on their device will have reduced functionality.

  • Unlicensed product notifications will pop up until they acquire another active Microsoft 365 subscription.

Recommended Actions

If your school is going to be assigning the free Exchange Online for Alumni licenses to graduating students, then there is nothing that the students need to do regarding their email. However for their files and for their desktop applications, you should take these steps:

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

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

  • Inform students that after moving documents out of their school OneDrive for work or school, they can continue to access and edit with free Office for the web after leaving school.

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

Related Topics

Assign licenses to users

Get OneDrive on your device

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