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I hope I am not stepping out of bounds by contributing to this thread.  My goal is to assist those who must manage Adobe software assets to do so in the most efficient and cost-effective method possible. 


There have been two subjects discussed in this thread.  I will try to expound on those subjects as succinctly as possible.


Licensing Adobe Software….what are my options?


With the new subscription based licensing programs introduced by Adobe, there has been quite a bit of confusion as to best practices for licensing Adobe software.  Although each university may have different considerations other than those suggestions, the guidelines below should help you determine the best policies for licensing Adobe software going forward.


1.        Adobe ETLA:  Adobe’s site license program most solves the issue of concurrency, but at an extravagant cost.  Pricing for Adobe ETLA is set by Adobe and may or may not be purchased through a channel partner.  Adobe has their own formula for determining the price per FTE but the basic pricing for schools in the 500 FTE range is as follows:


75% of your FTE is licensed for Acrobat Professional at $20 per FTE

25% of your FTE is licensed for Creative Cloud at $189 per FTE


Based on this formula, the average price per FTE is around $63.  Again, you may get better pricing from Adobe but these numbers can be used as a baseline to determine the annual cost of an Adobe ETLA agreement. 


The scenario in which you will most likely move to ETLA is if your use of Adobe is greater than ¼ of your FTE count and your users must all have access to the latest software.  (See Cost analysis below.)


2.        Adobe EEA: This is Adobe’s reactionary solution to the problem of lab computers in the education vertical.  MSRP Cost for Design and Web HED collection is $200 per device annually.  There are add-on licenses available for Video Collection $200 annually and Lightroom $50 annually.  These licenses are not updated frequently like Creative Cloud and they don’t include storage in the cloud.  EEA licenses agreements must include a minimum of one Design and Web HED collection.  As Mary suggested earlier, you cannot prorate EEA licenses. 


Suggestion:  EEA is designed for labs and it works for classrooms where certain Adobe software is used.  Unless you want to manage multiple subscriptions that end at different times, I suggest you use a different program than EEA to manage individual user (departmental) licenses of Adobe software.  Alternatively, you may consider establishing “enrollment periods” for users to obtain EEA licenses for their departmental computers.  You (or your reseller) could send out an announcement every three months or so announcing an enrollment period for EEA.  Yes, this option seems clumsy and inefficient but it is not nearly as inefficient as attempting to manage individual EEA licenses that are purchased at any time by any person.   


3.       Adobe Creative Cloud for Teams (VIP):  The Adobe VIP program was Adobe’s first foray into offering subscriptions of their software to individual users which are managed by an administrator.  Although the $480 MSRP annual cost of Creative Cloud for Teams is twice as expensive as the monthly subscription for students, the CC for Teams license is owned by the institution, not the user.  CC for Teams may be purchased through a channel partner or authorized Adobe on-campus store.  More importantly, VIP licenses are pro-rated on a monthly basis.  Although there may be some initial hassles in determining the original price for a pro-rated subscription, the pricing for each subsequent year is static and the start date for the VIP program may be established by the Software License Administrator.  Creative Cloud for Teams includes all products formerly in Adobe’s Master Collection Suite along with Lightroom, Edge, Muse, and Animate.  Storage of 100GB is included with each subscription.


Suggestion:  CC for Teams is designed for individual users who need the latest tools to have access to the most current content from Adobe.  It is the ideal solution for power users of Adobe and for those who are responsible for teaching programs that extensively use Adobe software. 


4.       Adobe Creative Suite 6 perpetual licensing:  We all know that none of the subscription based programs from Adobe are cost effective.  It is possible that most of your users don’t need the latest Adobe software in their environment.  Announced on May 7th, 2013, Adobe has decided to keep all of their CS6 products, both the suites and the individual products such as Photoshop and Dreamweaver, on the CLP agreement.  Adobe has informed their clients that CLP will not be eliminated until an alternative licensing program is developed.  I do not have information as to when Adobe will release a new licensing program to replace CLP, but I can speculate that it won’t happen this calendar year and it might not happen this fiscal year.


MSRP for Adobe CS6 Design and Web Premium under CLP Level 3 is $325.  If your user will be satisfied with the same version of software for two or three years, this is a much more cost effective program than any of the subscription based programs listed above.


Cost Analysis for Adobe software licensing programs:


                As part of a presentation for the HED consortia for which I manage Adobe software, I created a crude cost analysis of the different programs.  This analysis is based on an organization with 500 FTE.


                125 users of Creative Cloud for Teams (VIP) $480 each = $60,000 annually.  $180,000 over three years

                125 seats of Design and Web HED Collection $200 each  = $25,000 annually.  $75,000 over three years

                500 FTE Adobe ETLA 75% Acrobat/25% Creative Cloud = $31,125.00 annually.  $93,375.00 over three years.

                125 seats of Adobe Master Collection CS6  $540 each = $67,500 over three years


As you can see, the most cost effective option is to stay with CS6 if you license Adobe for one quarter of your FTE or less.  FTE does not equal device count.  It’s quite possible that you are already licensing Adobe Creative products for much more than one quarter of your FTE.  If so, then the site license ETLA program becomes more attractive.


If you are licensing less than one quarter of your FTE for Adobe Creative software and your users require the most current Adobe software, then I recommend you license EEA for the lab computers and VIP for the individual users.


I’m sure others within the group have a more comprehensive understanding of the complexities of licensing Adobe software for individual users and labs in an enterprise.  Hopefully, my post will serve as basic information for those who have yet to decide what to do with Adobe licensing going forward.







Timothy W. Lilly | National Consortia Manager

Digital River Education Services, Inc. | 

My mobile number has changed!!

Office: 800.876.3507 x12515 | Mobile: 469.263.7627

Fax: 972.481.2100

Digital River, Inc. | 5212 Tennyson Pkwy Suite 130 | Plano, TX 75024 | USA






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I think this summarizes the Adobe situation very well.  Thanks for the concise and accurate info !!

Darrell Lutey
Assistant Director, 702-895-0763
Office of Information Technology, UNLV
CBC B129 / Mail Stop 7040  |  Twitter@unlv_oit
IT Help Desk: 702-895-0777

Message from

Hi Timothy,

Thanks for the additional clarification.

I am still a bit confused with the EEA offering.  I was only within the last week told by Adobe that the EEA was geared toward labs.  Given that information I have a department that wants to install the new product in their lab and was moving forward with an EEA.  But your new information concerns me.

The whole reason the department wants the new product is so that they stay current as the CC advertises, but your post suggests otherwise : These licenses are not updated frequently like Creative Cloud

Do you have any idea how often updates are provided through EEA?  If it's not as current as the Cloud product then I'm not sure I'd advise this product at all and still recommend the CS6 product at this point.