WebStore Saves the University Millions of Dollars a Year

This past year, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s WebStore has achieved a record $7 million in sales, saving the University of Illinois System $28 million in software costs. Since its establishment in 2001, WebStore has saved the System over $275 million.

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s WebStore, an online software store for university students, faculty, staff, and University-affiliates that is a part of Technology Services, offers a wide range of free and discounted software contributing substantial cost savings for the University and University System. By consolidating software purchases and utilizing vendor license discounts, the WebStore has consistently achieved record sales almost every year since the service was released in 2001. 

Andre Krabbe, Assistant Director of Software Services at Technology Services, said, “Our analysis has shown an average 4:1 savings to the University of Illinois System for every dollar spent on the WebStore. 

The WebStore saves costs on a System-wide level (Illinois, UIC, UIS, and System Offices), including significant savings for students. For the individual student trying to access Adobe Creative Cloud, for example, it would normally cost $59.99 per month or $19.99 per month for a full-year subscription. Through WebStore, students can access Adobe Creative Cloud for free, saving students $60 per month for the duration of use, or $239.88 per year with the year-round enrollment. 

Products at the WebStore are available at decreased prices for students, faculty, and staff as compared to anywhere else and require log in with your NetID and password. Software downloaded or purchased from the WebStore also frequently provides access to capabilities not available through purchasing individual licenses directly from vendors. For example, SAS (analytics Software And Solutions), SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences), ESRI (Environmental Systems Research Institute geographic information system) each provide more functionality in their software purchased through WebStore than the software versions individuals can buy directly from the vendor.  

Software purchased through the WebStore can be accessed and used as long as the buyer has an active role (student, faculty, staff, etc.) within the University System. However, some software requires annual repurchase or re-registration. Information about required renewals will be identified on the WebStore’s software page upon purchase. 

Customers can download software directly from the WebStore after logging in using their NetID and password. WebStore will activate the product upon completion of purchase or registration. 

What are the most popular free or discounted software?

Software access eligibility and distribution can differ slightly across universities and role type (students, faculty, staff, etc.). Some of the most popular WebStore products include the following: 

Free Software
  • ABAQUS for Teaching 
  • Adobe Creative Cloud 
  • Autodesk for Teaching  
  • Cisco AnyConnect VPN 
  • Esri  
  • LabVIEW for Teaching  
  • LinkedIn Learning 
  • Mathematica  
  • Microsoft M365 (A5 license) 
  • OriginPro 
  • PTC Creo  
  • Qualtrics  
  • Zoom 
Discounted Software
  • Ansys  
  • Autodesk  
  • ChemOffice 
  • EndNote 
  • LabVIEW 
  • NVivo  
  • SAS 
  • SPSS 
  • Tableau  
  • Tecplot  
  • Stata  
  • SigmaPlot 

Software Services is currently working on Lucid and BioRender offerings. These are expected to be available by the end of February 2024. 

Software Services has also partnered with eText at Illinois to provide textbook cost savings to students for Illinois faculty-developed materials. Krabbe explained that “eText at Illinois delivers textbooks and other classroom materials with multimedia, notes, and assignments embedded directly in context. Instructors can add original or existing materials easily, and students can save 40-75% versus traditional books.” Software Services has sold over $4 million eText at Illinois content since forming this partnership. This revenue goes back into the University instead of being spent on external publishers. 

“The mission of Software Services is to provide our customers with the software products they require at the lowest possible price accompanied by the highest level of support and training to enhance teaching, research, and learning. Our slogan, ‘Save More, Learn More, Do More!’ highlights not only the savings for the entire University of Illinois System realized through academic discounts, but also the training/eText services we provide to support teaching and learning on our campuses,” said Krabbe. 

WebStore can be accessed at webstore.illinois.edu and any questions can be emailed to webstore@illinois.edu.