Frequently Asked Questions About PTC Education's Licensing Program

Written by: Cat McClintock

Read Time: 4 min.

[This post was updated in August 2021]

You may already know that PTC offers free licenses of software for students at all levels through our PTC Education Program. You probably also know that “student” versions of software can mean different things to different people. We get many questions about who qualifies, what’s in the software, and how long students can keep it. Here are a few answers to some frequently asked questions:

Q: Who qualifies for free education licenses?
A: Any college or university student and any K12 (that is, primary or secondary school) student or teacher qualifies for our free software offerings.

Q: What software is available and where can I access it?
A: We are proud to offer Creo and PTC Mathcad to students, K12 educators, and FIRST teams for free. All of these offerings can be found here.

  • CREO FOR STUDENTS Creo is the industry standard 3D CAD software for product design and development. Putting Creo into the hands of students empowers the next generation of engineers to design, analyze, simulate, and bring their ideas to life. University, college, K12 students and FIRST teams can register for their free version of Creo here.
  • CREO FOR K12 EDUCATORS Creo for K12 educators brings the industry standard 3D CAD software into the classroom. This license includes all the features educators need to teach both simple and advanced modeling. Creo works anywhere and is our premiere offering for K12 teachers. We offer 3 different versions of Creo for K12 educators which accommodate different needs and use cases. All of these free offerings can be found here.
  • PTC MATHCAD FOR STUDENTS PTC Mathcad is the industry’s standard for engineering calculation software, enabling you to solve your most complex problems, and share your calculations with colleagues. To prepare students for the workforce, PTC Education is committed to providing access to PTC Mathcad for free. University students can access Mathcad Express for and K12 students can access PTC Mathcad Prime for free here.
  • PTC MATHCAD FOR K12 EDUCATORSThis license includes all the features educators need to teach both simple and advanced engineering math calculations. 

University students who still need more functionality can find premium licenses of both Creo and PTC Mathcad at a discounted student rate at our eStore. Remember, too, that anybody - including students - can take advantage of the free trial downloads, including a free trial of Vuforia Studio.

Q: Do students have to go through their school to get a license?
A: No, you can request a license on your own by visiting our PTC Education free software page. Here you can find to the right software for you, depending on your grade level and/or the program you’re participating in.

Q: How do students prove they qualify for the program?
A: Generally, a school email address proves you’re a student since those are only given to students. Otherwise, you’ll have to provide additional information during the registration process.

Q: Will a student be able to download the software at home?
A: Yes, that’s one of the many advantages of the free download, it provides you home access to PTC software. Now you can use the software to complete assignments at home and continue to explore and improve capabilities in the software. Plus, our PTC Education Support team provides guidance and support through the download process on the PTC Community here:

Q: Does a student have to reapply for the license each year?
A: Creo licenses expire after one year, but students who are still in school can renew by reapplying on our free software page. The same goes for teams and competitions. You just renew each year. Windchill is provided indefinitely for student competition teams. One benefit of this renewal process is that it ensures that teams aren't working with older versions of the software.

Q: Is the academic version a limited version of the professional PTC software? How is it different?
A: Yes, our academic versions of PTC software are different than the software packages our commercial customers purchase. The free versions are still very robust and can get any student designing and creating. For university students that need more functionality, we offer premium licenses of both Creo and PTC Mathcad at a discounted student rate via our eStore.

FIRST teams also have access to software packages with more functionality.

Q: If I’m in high school, can I take my license and data with me to college?
A: You can definitely take your data and model files, but since university students qualify for a different education version of the software, you’ll need to register to download the free version for college and university students.

Q: Any other licensing-related tips you want to pass on to students?
A: We have a great support team here at PTC Education, some of whom were students using our software in school before joining us! If you have any issues, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at

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About the Author

Cat McClintock

Cat McClintock contributes to the Creo and Mathcad blogs for PTC. She has been a writer and editor for 15+ years, working for CAD, PDM, ERP, and CRM software companies. Prior to that, she edited science journals for an academic publisher and aligned optical assemblies for a medical device manufacturer. She holds degrees in Technical Journalism, Classics, and Electro-Optics. She loves talking to PTC customers and learning about the interesting work they're doing and the innovative ways they use the software.