Microsoft released some exciting news for college students today. According to the announcement post, the previously known education initiative called DreamSpark is now being renamed to Microsoft Imagine. The new name seems to fit much better with the annual Imagine Cup that inspires young developers to test their abilities against thousands of others for a grand prize.
Along with the change, Microsoft Imagine will be communicating most closely with institutions periodically with program updates and news. Likewise, administrators will get a visual update to the interface and have an improved experience with maintaining the program's benefits for their students. Of course, there will not be any change in price or value of benefits due to the transition and students will have access to everything they did before the name change.
Even though the announcement took place just today, the rollout to change the sites and redirect links started a few days ago. The DreamSpark home page has even already switched to Microsoft Imagine instead. By the end of Q1 in the new 2017 fiscal year, the DreamSpark title will be officially retired from the program. This also means that DreamSpark Standard and DreamSpark Premium subscription models will be transferred over to the name Microsoft Imagine for each product.
Microsoft Imagine Standard includes the following products:
- Visual Studio 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015 Professional Editions
- Visual Studio LightSwitch 2011
- Expression Studio 4 Ultimate (became a free product as of 2013, discontinued)
- Microsoft SQL Server 2014
- Microsoft SQL Server 2012
- Microsoft SQL Server 2008
- Windows Server 2008 Standard Edition 32-bit
- Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard Edition 64-bit
- Windows Server 2012 Datacenter and Standard Editions 64-bit
- Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter and Standard Editions 64-bit
- Windows Embedded CE 6.0
- Windows Embedded Standard 7
- Windows Embedded 8 Industry Pro
- Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry Pro
Microsoft Imagine Premium includes almost any Windows operating system and access to all editions of Visual Studio instead of just the professional editions found in the Standard list.
DreamSpark was originally announced on February 20, 2008 and has run for over eight years. the program has provided over 35 million students with necessary software design and development tools for little to no cost. All that the program required was student verification by either selecting some of the top universities listed or supplying their student ID card manually. It's likely the same verification process will remain intact.
DreamSpark was available for over 80 countries for university and college students, as well as some promising high school students. However, according to the Microsoft Imagine announcement, it seems that there will be some changes coming towards the program. It's not been said whether this means that Imagine will be strictly for collegiate students or if there will be the previous exceptions made for younger coders.