Microsoft has announced plans to offer unusually deep discounts to individuals eyeballing Office 365 University, its upcoming cloud-based productivity suite geared toward academic users. Students and professors alike will be able to snap up four-year subscriptions for just $79.99 – that's far cheaper than Office 365 Home Premium's $99.99 annual price tag. Students will also be able to renew their subscription for an additional four years – that's 8 years total – for a mere $79.99 extra. All in all, the deal comes out to a very affordable $1.67 per month.

Microsoft Office 365 University includes access to the same core programs that have become timeless staples in its offline cousin, Microsoft Office: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, One Note and Outlook. Additionally, the Internet-based office suite comes bundled with 27GB of SkyDrive cloud storage and 60 minutes of time for International Skype calls – a possibly useful addition for many students. 

Interestingly, while a single subscription of Office 365 Home Premium allows for installation on up to five computers, University editions may only be installed on two machines. Microsoft claims that full-featured Office programs can be streamed online to 'any PC" though. This feature does not presumably work for Macs though, since the company's footnotes indicate that One Note, Publisher and Access are only available for PC.

Microsoft Office 365 University is expected to launch during the first quarter of 2013. However, eligible students who sign up for Office University 2010 or Office University for Mac 2011 will receive a "free" subscription to Office 365 University when it first becomes available.