UBC Campus Agreement

UBC currently licenses Microsoft products in several ways. The most common (and most familiar way) is to purchase licenses on an individual basis using a perpetual model. A perpetual license means that you own the license forever once you have purchased it. If you wish to upgrade the license, you must buy another one, either the entire license or an upgrade version. UBC departments may purchase individual licenses at a substantially discounted price through the UBC Select Agreement with Longview.

Another way to license Microsoft products is to enter into an academic Campus Agreement. Most Universities choose to license their most commonly used Microsoft products this way. A campus agreement changes the ownership from a one-time purchase, perpetual license, to a leasing model, where you pay annually to use the software. This model has the benefit of being able to upgrade software when a new version comes out without additional cost. Savings occur because we license the software on a FTE (Full Time Employee) basis, not by computer or device.

UBC has implemented a UBC-Wide Campus Agreement as of April 1, 2010. The agreement will be centrally funded and thus without direct charge to departments. The following Microsoft products are offered through the Campus Agreement:

  • Windows OS Upgrade Version
  • Microsoft Office 
  • Microsoft Visio 
  • Microsoft Project 
  • Core CAL (Client Access License) Suite
    • Windows Server CAL
    • Microsoft SharePoint Server Standard CAL
    • Microsoft Exchange Server Standard CAL
    • Microsoft Skype For Business Server Standard CAL
    • Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager Client Management License
    • System Center Endpoint Protection


Important: Campus Agreement software must be installed only on UBC-owned equipment, computers, laptops or desktops.

Many faculties and departments had opted into a Campus Agreement previously and reported the following benefits:

  • Significantly reduced costs for core Microsoft products
  • Full legal compliance for the core Microsoft products
  • Staff and faculty have access to the latest tools including Home Use Rights and E-Learning benefits
  • Significant reduction in the overhead of purchasing and distributing software
  • Significant reduction of the management and administration of core Microsoft software
  • All university owned equipment is covered, including research machines

Please see our list of Frequently Asked Questions below for more details about the UBC Campus Agreement. If you have questions regarding the campus agreement, you may contact the IT Service Centre .

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What equipment is covered by this agreement?
All computers, such as desktops and laptops, which are owned by the University of British Columbia are covered under the Microsoft Campus Agreement for the duration of the agreement. A computer is considered to be owned by UBC if it is purchased with UBC funds and/or subject to UBC disposal rules.

If a computer is owned by another institution (e.g. Hospitals or Health Authorities or other research institutions) but operated by a UBC employee (staff/faculty/researcher), it is not covered as it is not owned by UBC.

How do I get the Microsoft Campus Agreement software installed?
Due to concerns over inappropriate software distribution and copying, the university is required to closely monitor the process by which its site-licensed software is administered. It is the responsibility of university technicians to maintain a reasonable level of oversight over the distribution and installation of software. Campus Agreement software must be installed by departmental IT administrators/technicians to ensure that the software is installed on UBC owned computers/equipment and to ensure license compliancy. Accordingly, campus agreement volume license keys and media will not be provided to end users. For assistance or to request the installation of software on UBC owned computer/equipment, please contact your departmental IT group.

What is covered under the Home Use Program?
If you are assigned a computer to do your work at UBC, and that computer is owned by UBC, you can purchase a license and for home use online directly from Microsoft (approximate cost between $10 - $40 USD). This permits you to run Microsoft Office on a personally owned machine. For information on how to get Microsoft Office via the Home Use Program, please contact your departmental IT group.

If you purchase Microsoft Office under the Home Use program, you must uninstall and discontinue use of Microsoft Office from your personally-owned computer when you leave employment of UBC or if the Campus Agreement ends.

The Home Use Program does not apply to any other software except Microsoft Office.

Can faculty/staff/employees use departmental Office media for home use purposes?
No, Microsoft Office cannot be installed on personal computers using departmental installation media. Microsoft requires that Home Use has unique keys and media. That special media is available for download or mailed to you via the Microsoft Home Use Program website. Please contact your departmental IT group for more information.

Does the Campus Agreement give me the ability to upgrade to a new version of a product when it does come out?
Yes. As Microsoft releases new operating system or office versions, departments can upgrade to these new versions on UBC owned equipment with no additional cost. Home Use Program will be updated with the newest version of Office around the retail release date.

What does Windows Operating System Upgrade license mean?
The license in the Campus Agreement is an upgrade license and requires that your new UBC departmental computer must be purchased with a full operating system license. This means that when you buy a new computer you must buy an OEM version of the Windows OS, and then you upgrade to the Campus Agreement version. Therefore, it's best to get the lowest cost OEM version of Windows installed ( e.g. Home or Starter Edition ) and then upgrade to Windows 7 Professional or Enterprise at UBC.

Qualifying Operating Systems for Upgrade License include:

  • Windows Vista (32 bit or 64 bit)
    • Business
    • Ultimate
    • Home Premium
    • Home Basic
    • Starter
  • Windows XP (32 bit or 64 bit)
    • Professional
    • Tablet PC Edition
    • Home
  • Windows 2000 Pro
  • Windows NT Workstation 4
  • Windows 95/98/ME
  • IBM OS/2
  • Apple Macintosh

Are Apple/Mac computers covered?
Mac OS X is considered an existing full operating system license and allows you to run the products covered under Campus Agreement including the Windows Operating System and Office Suite. There is no Mac version of Visio and Project but you are licensed to use it. Very likely, you would be installing and running the software via Apple Bootcamp or a virtualization program such as VMWare Fusion or Parallels Desktop for Mac.

Can I use previous version of software covered under the Campus Agreement?
Yes downgrade rights are included. You can use any prior version for products covered by the Campus Agreement. For example, you can use Office 2003 instead of or at the same time as Office 2007 or Windows XP instead of Windows 7.

Is Windows Operating Systems available under the Home Use Program?
Windows Operating Systems (XP, Vista, 7, etc.) are not available under the Home Use Program. They fall under a more restrictive licensing called Work At Home. Under Work At Home, a computer installed with Windows Operating Systems is NOT allowed to be used for personal purposes and must be restricted to work related purposes only. Additionally, media may NOT be replicated for Work at Home use and that Windows must be removed from your personal computer if the agreement ends or you are no longer employed by UBC.

This essentially takes a staff/faculty member's own personal computer and turns it into a "work only" computer due to the limited rights. We believe this is very restrictive and instead recommend that the department assign and provide a UBC owned computer to the staff/faculty member. This ensures that the hardware and software are tied together.

The latest Windows Operating System version is available at discounted pricing at the UBC Bookstore .

What is the Windows/Office KMS Activation server for UBC?
The Windows KMS server allows for easy activations if computers are connected to the following UBC networks:

  • UBC wired networks - excluding ResNet
  • Dial up
  • VPN
  • "ubcsecure" and "ubcprivate" wireless networks

The server address is kms1.it.ubc.ca and operates on port 1688 TCP . Please ensure that you are connected to one of the above networks and that your firewall is opened to this server if you are having problems activating.

How does the KMS activation system work?
A computer must contact and activate against the UBC KMS license server at least once every 180 days (Activation Interval). By default, computers will attempt to renew their activation once every seven days. If KMS activation fails, the client will retry every two hours. After a client's computer is re-activated, the Activation Interval is reset and will be valid for another 180 days. No warnings or user impact will occur as long as a computer is activated every 180 days.

What happens if a computer is not activated in the 180 days?
Reduced Functionality Mode (RFM) is much improved in Windows 7. Compared to Windows Vista, Windows 7 instead has a notifications-based experience. This new notifications user experience means that computers that are not activated during their grace periods (initial activations and those that result from hardware changes) or that fail validation may have the following:

  • After logging on to the computer, users see a dialog box reminding them that Windows must be activated along with options to activate now or later. If users do not interact with this dialog box within two minutes, the logon process continues normally.
  • In the notifications state, Windows changes the desktop wallpaper to a solid black background, displays notifications in the notification area indicating the activation state, and displays dialog boxes showing actions that the user must take.
  • In the notifications state, users have access to the full functionality of the installed version of Windows, except:
    • Windows Update downloads security and critical updates only (optional updates are excluded).
    • Optional downloads requiring the online validation service—also referred to as genuine-gated downloads—are not available.

The computer must be activated for it to leave the notifications state.