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Does anyone know a method for vetting users when people apply for discounted educational licensing with a discount?

So far I have looked at:

  • providing a license manually on per user basis when user can submit a valid student card - problem here is potentially creating a heavy workload for our rather small CS team
  • another option is to programatically only allow to subscribe for educational license if users email has .edu domain

Each one of the above has obvious patterns for abusing the system, was wondering if anyone has previous experience with setting up a similar system and how you were able to resolve it.

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    .edu only really works for US. A company I have worked with has a whitelist of institutions + their student email domains. Really works in most cases and even if it gets abused: people get trained in your software and will want to use it at the workplace (where the real money is). Jan 17, 2019 at 8:53
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    I've edited this so it's more of a specific answerable question rather than a request for some examples. Examples may come with answers but we need something specific to try to solve.
    – JonW
    Jan 17, 2019 at 11:37
  • Educational facilities usually give students email addresses of their domain / subdomain, which are revoked upon leaving the facility. Whitelisting of domains upon application by the faculty may be a feasible workload for you.
    – Jens
    Jan 17, 2019 at 23:03
  • @Jens IT may not revoke the email - there are several dead emplyees and the email address is still in the list... but testing that would need to get a response from each address.
    – Solar Mike
    Feb 17, 2019 at 4:38

3 Answers 3

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There isn't really a good way to do this except rely on honesty. I recall that it used to be relatively common to go to a school's bookstore just to buy the discounted student version of Microsoft Office. So practically, the best thing would be to either price the regular version so there's no incentive to lie or disable certain "pro" features for the student version.

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There's a whitelist of university domains we've used in a project to limit registration to educational institutions here -->

https://github.com/Hipo/university-domains-list

It makes for a massive regex (but it still works), though if you strip out common patterns like *.edu, *.ac.uk etc you can shorten it a lot.

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Produce a range of product keys that you can distribute to universities or high schools for free, which they can in turn provide to their students. These keys are then used to activate the Student Version of your software - without one, all the user can do is upgrade to the Professional Version for an additional payment.

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