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I will soon drop out of university. However, I will try to keep me busy with some research topics. For that I'll need a mathematica licence running on a single machine. I can currently buy a mathematica student version. I'm not quite sure what will happen when I drop out of university:

  • Will I lose access to my mathematica version?
  • Will I be forced to upgrade and pay for a different version?
  • Is there a periodical check from Wolfram on my student status after say a year?
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    $\begingroup$ It is an interesting question, but I fear it does not belong here $\endgroup$ – magma Apr 2 '17 at 9:58
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    $\begingroup$ I had a conversation with Wolfram support two years ago when I purchased Mathematica. From my memory, 1. You can continue to use the correct version forever. 2. You will not be forced to upgrade if you don't want to. 3. If you want to upgrade your product/continue your subscription as a student, then yes. In other words, you can still use the software, but if you want any more services, you have to choose a different plan. And they said that WR will provide a big discount if you want to upgrade to professional version, however, they didn't talk about home edition, which is preferred. $\endgroup$ – happy fish Apr 2 '17 at 14:32
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    $\begingroup$ I advise you to ask support for accurate information, as they may have changed the policy now. $\endgroup$ – happy fish Apr 2 '17 at 14:34
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A correct answer to your question will require consultation with the administrator of your Mathematica license at your academic institution. Wolfram has a number of options licensing options available to academic end-users. I have experience with administering an academic site license and can provide some insights but you should speak with someone at your institution to get the correct answer.

Will I lose access to my mathematica version? Yes, eventually. Student licenses that allow the software to be installed on personal computers typically require annual renewal. The new key will be sent to your university email address. I assume you will lose access to that email address upon leaving the institution.

Will I be forced to upgrade and pay for a different version? No, unless you live in a country that mandates the usage of certain software packages by its citizens.

Is there a periodical check from Wolfram on my student status after say a year? Yes, for license options that include a home-use rider. A typical implementation is that a student creates an account on the Wolfram Portal that is linked to their institution's email address. Then the student version of the software will expire after one year, requiring the student to re-activate through the portal. As mentioned in the first question, if you cannot access the email account provided to you by your institution, you will not be able to access the activation key provided through the Wolfram Portal.

Note added in proof: As an example of licensing customization, this institution provides a decent discount allowing students to migrate their "free" student edition to a professional edition. As a license administrator, I was not able to offer this type of advantage to students at my institution.

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  • $\begingroup$ I know that procedure, e.g. my university offers mathematica for free to students via their software shop. However, I don't specifically aim for that way of "prucasing" mathematica. There is a student version for around 150 dollar at wolfram's page. Do the same restrictions also apply to that version (e.g. my university's version is actually the same, the billing is just hidden from me)? $\endgroup$ – image Apr 2 '17 at 13:12
  • $\begingroup$ Excellent answer Bob.! I am glad to see that my answer, which was partly based on guesswork/common sense, has been proven correct and upvoted . I would like to note that the UV example you quoted shows that migrating to "Commercial" version, even with 70% discount is still more expensive (and probably unnecessary for the OP) than buying a Home version as I suggested $\endgroup$ – magma Apr 2 '17 at 13:19
  • $\begingroup$ @magma This answer also has problems, and is factually incorrect on several points. For example I use my personal email together with my university's site license, not my university email. I have Mathematica versions on my system going back to version 9 and sometimes I use them to check how things used to behave. I have never been asked for any kind of renewal as far as I can remember. I don't doubt that this answer is the information bobthechemist has been given by WRI, but in practice I think it works differently. happy fish's comment is the best answer so far in my mind. $\endgroup$ – C. E. Apr 2 '17 at 15:22
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I suggest you go with the Home version, so you can pursue your personal interests.The Home version costs a bit more (about 300 dollars), but has no time limits and when you upgrade the price is around 100 dollars. If you really discover and publish something spectacular - and you absolutely need MMA to demonstrate your results - then talk to WRI.

The student version is only valid until you are a student. This is clearly written in their website. Obviously you are not obliged to upgrade or change your license, but perhaps you will get an offer to change it to Home at some discounted price.

It appears that WRI sends are periodic activation keys every December, but clearly next time you want to renew your student version, you will not be allowed.

In short: you will need an home version sooner or later.

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    $\begingroup$ This does not answer any of the questions. $\endgroup$ – C. E. Apr 2 '17 at 10:06
  • $\begingroup$ @C.E. I added more info. Anyway , as I wrote above, I do not think this question belongs here. $\endgroup$ – magma Apr 2 '17 at 10:18
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    $\begingroup$ But I wonder if it is really true. I mean what they do is they send you an activation key via email that you then enter into Mathematica. I understand that they will stop sending you activation keys after the license is no longer valid, but it is not clear to me that versions you already have will be deactivated. $\endgroup$ – C. E. Apr 2 '17 at 10:23
  • $\begingroup$ The student activation keys that you receive are time limited? If yes, then - when you can no longer prove your student status - your student version will expire. $\endgroup$ – magma Apr 2 '17 at 10:30
  • $\begingroup$ Home version activation keys, on the other hand, are permanent and you can use multiple (older) versions of MMA at the same time. $\endgroup$ – magma Apr 2 '17 at 10:34

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