Gauchos know that making a dollar stretch as far as possible is a top priority. One course tool that nearly all students use that is not only overpriced, but also costs a student-budget fortune, is Microsoft Office. Your professors, TAs and classmates use this program for important assignments ranging from history papers to lab reports, but why pay $139.99 at the Apple Store when there’s a cheaper option? Here’s how to get Office for free, so that money can go to books and those all-important late night Freebirds nachos.

The next time you consider buying Microsoft Office at the store, stop. Seriously, stop right there. Microsoft has Office 365, which all UCSB students have via u-mail. It allows you and up to four other people access to Microsoft Office for the entire year. And guess what? It’s only $6.99 a month for one person or $9.99 if your roommates need it too. You can check out this option at

Now, accessing Office as a monthly subscription might be all most students need for their computers, but here’s how to get it free. On an iPad, go to the App Store and search for Microsoft Office. In the search results, you’ll see Word, PowerPoint and Excel available for free. All you need is a Microsoft Live account (also free) to gain full use out of the apps and that’s it. For best results, get a cheap Bluetooth keyboard for your iPad and it’ll be just as good as any MacBook you find in class. Just so you know, this article was written entirely on an iPad.

That’s all there is to it. Microsoft Office is the de facto office suite for college students, but that doesn’t mean we can’t try to get it cheaper. Hope these tips help you save some money and remember to tell your friends and roommates. Happy studying and as always, we Gaucho back!