Microsoft A1 Plus License Retirement FAQ

Tags a1-plus


This summer, UO will transition about 8,300 accounts to a different type of Microsoft license. This article provides answers to frequently asked questions about that transition.

Table of contents


What's changing?

  • Microsoft is retiring its A1 Plus license type, so we must switch everyone with that license to the A1 license.
  • That means they will lose access to:​
    • The desktop versions of Office software*, which are necessary for certain advanced features, such as mail merge.​
    • Publisher and Access applications. (No web versions exist.)
  • The same accounts now have a storage quota of 100 GB.​ Microsoft made that change February 1.​​

*Exception: The desktop version of the Teams app is available free worldwide.

(Back to the top.)

When is it changing?

  • On Tuesday, July 16.
  • We want to complete the transition before Microsoft removes the A1 Plus license type for all education-sector customers in August.

(Back to the top.)

Who will be affected?

  • This change will only affect people and accounts with the Microsoft A1 Plus license. That includes:
    • Affiliations:
      • Campus Associate
        • Examples: Various contractors.
      • Courtesy
        • Examples: Visiting faculty, visiting researchers, visiting postdocs.
      • Emerit​
      • Retired​
      • Temporary Employee​
    • Accounts:
      • Role/department accounts
  • If someone has two positions, they’ll get the highest-tier Microsoft license they qualify for.
    • Example: When Emerit faculty teach classes, they get an additional Faculty affiliation, which grants them the A5 license.

For details, see the UO Affiliations and Microsoft Licensing page.

(Back to the top.)

What do you mean by temporary employee?

  • UO employees with a temporary employee affiliation currently have A1 Plus licenses and will be transitioned to A1 licenses in July 2024.
  • Agency temps don’t have their own UO Microsoft licenses because they don’t have UO affiliations. However, if they use role accounts for their UO work, they'll still be affected by this change.

(Back to the top.)

What will happen on July 16?

  • If you try to access a Microsoft application installed on your computer, you will start seeing an error message.
  • The error messages may not appear immediately, and may be intermittent at first.
  • It may take up to two days for the change to be processed across UO systems.

(Back to the top.)

How did we get here?

  • According to Microsoft, it "introduced Office 365 A1 Plus to schools in 2015 to ease the provisioning burden for IT of moving users to the cloud." That's the same year that the University of Oregon got a Microsoft site license.
  • A1 Plus licenses are free to the UO as part of our Microsoft site license, as will be the A1 licenses.​
  • Microsoft previously hinted about retiring the A1 Plus license type. Many universities are already using A1 licenses for comparable purposes.
  • At the UO, we chose to postpone the transition until now so affected users could keep using the desktop apps for as long as possible — which was ultimately nine years (2015-2024).
  • After Microsoft announced a deadline, Information Services staff proceeded as quickly as possible with impact analysis, and is now providing affected users, departments, and the UO community with as much notice as possible.​

(Back to the top.)

What's staying the same?

  • People switching to the A1 license will keep their access to the web versions of the Office apps, such as:​
    • Outlook​
    • Word​
    • Excel​
    • PowerPoint​
    • Excel​
    • OneNote​
    • OneDrive​
    • SharePoint​
    • etc.​
  • For everyone else at the UO — faculty, staff, and students — all of their Microsoft 365 access will remain the same.​​

(Back to the top.)

Do I need to take action?

  • Information Services plans to notify affected users, including owners of role accounts, the first week of June. Please look for an email from Information Services News (
  • Affected users, their supervisors, and department budget managers should review the options below and consider what will work best for them and their departments. Please note that some options cost money.
  • We encourage affected users to try using the web versions of the Office apps NOW to determine whether those will work for their jobs.
  • Please don't wait to contact tech support if you have questions or need help. The sooner you reach out, the more likely we can help ensure a smooth transition for you in July.

(Back to the top.)

Are there training resources available?

  • The Technology Service Desk has compiled some LinkedIn Learning resources to guide you through some of the basics.
  • Please consult Office 365 Training Resources for more information.

(Back to the top.)

What are some of the differences between web and desktop apps?​​​​​​​

  • Microsoft has provided a resource that breaks down of the differences between the Office 365 web and desktop apps (e.g., Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote).
  • For more information, please consult the Office for the web service description article.

(Back to the top.)

What if I manage an account in Outlook along with my own account?

  • Faculty, staff, and students who manage role or departmental accounts alongside their personal UO email accounts, and are not any of the affected affiliations, may continue to use desktop Outlook as long as the personal UO account license is used to setup Outlook. 
  • For those who login via a role or departmental account only, you must be on a managed and shared computer to use the Outlook desktop app.
  • If you don't know if a shared machine is properly configured, contact your IT support unit with the name of the machine (or UO Asset Tag sticker on the computer). They will make sure that it is set up properly.

(Back to the top.)

What options do we have after the transition?

  • Option 1: Use the web versions of the Office apps.​
    • Cost: No additional cost.​
    • Use case: The web apps work for most uses of Office apps, except for certain advanced features.​
    • Getting started: Visit​
    • More context: Microsoft's technology roadmap is web-first, so our current desktop applications are slated to be phased out eventually anyway. The web versions are the future.
  • Option 2: Use a shared computer that’s licensed.​
    • Cost: No additional cost.​
    • Use case: People who use a shared UO computer, such as many temporary employees and student employees.​
    • Getting started:
      • Shared Windows and Mac computers managed by Information Services already have the Office apps installed, so no action is required for those.
      • For computers not managed by IS, and for other scenarios, please contact tech support to explore whether this option might work for you.​
  • Option 3: Ask your department to buy an individual license upgrade through Information Services.​
    • Cost: Currently $60.00 per account per year. Prices subject to change.​
    • Use case: People who need an advanced feature, such as mail merge, that's not available in the web version of an Office app.
      • Note: Requires sponsorship by a UO employee.
    • Getting started: Please contact tech support.
    • More context:
      • You would be upgraded to an A3 license, which is similar to the A5 license that faculty, staff, and students have. Learn more at Microsoft Software Availability by UO Affiliation.
      • A limited number of such individual upgrades will be offered because they require extensive coordination and processing by multiple UO teams each year.
  • Option 4 (personal use only): Buy discounted subscription to Microsoft 365.​
    • Cost: 30% discount on select Microsoft 365 subscriptions.​
    • Use case: Retirees who want to install the Office apps on personal computers for personal use.
      • Note: Requires UO email account.
    • Getting started: For purchasing details, visit the Microsoft Workplace Discount Program website.
    • More context: This option is NOT appropriate for UO computers or UO business uses. (Instead, see options 1-3 above or contact tech support.)

(Back to the top.)

What about OneDrive storage quotas?

  • Microsoft recently applied a new OneDrive storage quota of 100 GB to everyone who currently has an A1 Plus license. That quota went into effect on or after February 1.
  • Affected users may have received direct notification from Microsoft.
  • Only about 2% of affected users (about 180 people) are currently using more than 100 GB. Those people can still access their data (to remove files) but can't add new files.​
  • No data will be deleted.

Before deleting files or other data, or moving them out of UO systems, employees should be aware of their recordkeeping responsibilities as explained in the short video Records and Our Shared Responsibilities from University Records Management.

(Back to the top.)

What if I need more storage?

  • If you have the new 100 GB storage quota in OneDrive and you need more storage, you can use SharePoint and Teams. 
  • SharePoint and Teams sites start with 1 TB of storage each, expandable to 5 TB upon request.
  • To move files from OneDrive to SharePoint, please follow these steps provided by Microsoft.
  • Tech support is available to help with the transition.

(Back to the top.)

Does this affect my UO email storage quota?

  • No. Affected accounts will keep the same storage quota for their UO email accounts ​that they have today.

(Back to the top.)

Can't the UO upgrade those 8,300 accounts?

(Back to the top.)

Where can I ask questions or get help?

(Back to the top.)

Print Article


Article ID: 140758
Tue 5/21/24 2:40 PM
Tue 6/11/24 3:02 PM

Related Articles (1)

This article is intended to provide Office users with a list of which applications are available to them based upon their university affiliation.