Free Downloads for Students: Part 2. PTC Academic Licensing Explained

You may already know that PTC offers free licenses of its software for students and all levels. You probably also know that “student” versions of  software can mean different things to different people. We get lots of questions about who qualifies, what’s in the software, and how long students can keep it.

That’s why I asked PTC’s Stacie Kaufman, senior academic business development specialist, and Chris Carr, academic technical sales specialist, to answer some of the most commonly asked questions about academic licensing at PTC.

Q: Who qualifies for free academic licenses? 

A: Any K-12 (that is, primary or secondary school) student or teacher, college or university student qualifies for a free license.

Chris Carr

Q: What software is available and where should students sign up?

A: The Creo Standard Edition is available to individual students and teachers free. They can access the software by registering here:

K-12 students that are a part of FIRST teams can download a more comprehensive package that includes Creo, Windchill, PTC Mathcad, and ThingWorx.  But they need to register at a different site:

We also offer a PTC Sponsorship Package for college and university students that are participating in collegiate design competitions, such as Formula SAE or Solar Vehicle Project. That package includes the Creo Schools Premium Edition, which meets the advanced needs of these more experienced teams by offering access to Windchill, PTC Mathcad, and ThingWorx.  Teams can learn more about that package and register here:


Remember, too, that anybody, including students, can take advantage of the free trial downloads that PTC offers, and if they still need more functionality than what’s available from the free versions, they can always take advantage of the products sold on the e-store.

[Ed. See the table below for a quick overview.]

Free software & resources

Who’s eligible

Where to find it

Creo Standard Edition

K-12 students, college and university students

PTC Package for FIRST students (includes Creo, Windchill, PTC Mathcad, and ThingWorx)

K-12 students participating in FIRST competitions

Creo Schools Premium Edition (includes Creo, Windchill, PTC Mathcad, and ThingWorx)

College and university students in participating collegiate design competitions

Various free downloads and trials



Q: Do students have to go through their school to get a license?

A: No, they can request a license on their own by visiting the PTC Academic Program at Here they can navigate to the right software for them, depending on their grade level and/or the program they are participating. [Ed. This is how 4H and homegrown teams, like the RoboSpartans FIRST Technical Challenge Team #4082, can use PTC software without a formal school affiliation.]

Central New York’s RoboSpartans are a FIRST robotics team unaffiliated with any school.

Q: How do students prove they qualify for the program?

A: Generally, a school email address proves they’re a student since those are only given to students. Otherwise, they’ll have to provide additional information during the registration process.

Stacie Kaufman

Q: Will a student be able to download the software at home?

A: Yes, that’s one advantage of the free download is it provides you home access to PTC software that some may only get at school or in the lab. Now you can utilize the software to complete assignments at home or play around in the software. Plus, our Academic Support team has done a great job of providing 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 will expire after one year, but for students who are still in school, they can renew their license by contacting Academic Support: The same goes for teams and competitions- the software package is valid for that school/competition year but all they need to do is register their team again. One benefit of this renewal process is that it ensures that teams are getting the latest and greatest versions of the software.

Q: Is the academic version a limited version of the professional PTC software? How is it different?

A: There is different functionality in each of our academic versions but the free Creo Standard Edition is still a very robust version of the software that can get any student designing. And again, we recognize that some students need more functionality and those that are a part of a team can register for the Creo Schools Premium Edition at and if they aren’t part of a team, they can look to the e-store at for more options.

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 academic version of the software, you’ll just need to register to download the free version for college and university students at

Q: Any other licensing-related tips you want to pass on to students?

A: We have a great support team in the PTC Academic Program, some whom were students in the program before joining us! So should you have any issues, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at

[For more information about PTC Academic Program, visit the website]