College kids are broke, and Microsoft knows it.

The company is finally laying out the details of Office 365 University, its subscription-based software suite aimed at higher-education students, faculty, and staff.

Available first quarter next year, Office 365 will cost $79 for a four-year subscription (or, as Microsoft points out, $1.67 per month). The suite comes with Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, and Access.

Alongside the software, the subscription comes with an extra 20GB of Skydrive space, 60 Skype “world minutes” per month, and Office on Demand, which lets you use the software on any PC.

With the extras, Microsoft aims to create a compelling bargain for college kids not willing to pay for the more expensive alternate Office packages. And something tells me students will respond to it (assuming they’re comfortable with not technically “owning” the software.)

As the announcement shows, Microsoft is intent on shifting Office away from being just software: It’s a service now, too. Microsoft doesn’t want its relationship with customers to end after they buy its software. Make no mistake, subscriptions are a big part of the future of Office.

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