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Software Licensing

Volume software licensing for the Cornell community


CU Software is the university’s central software licensing resource. We help the Cornell community save on software costs by using economies of scale and promoting software license opportunities. Last year, CU Software saved the university an estimated $2.1 million. 

CU Software is a collaboration between CIT, the Office of Purchasing Services, and the Cornell Store’s Technology Connection. The service structure is as follows:

  • Software license and contract management is managed by Supply Management Services
  • Software sales and fulfillment and software license renewal are managed by The Cornell Store
  • Software technical support, electronic software distribution, and new software license assessment are managed by Cornell Information Technologies
  • Faculty, staff, and students in all Cornell locations and formal affiliations—Ithaca, Geneva, New York City, Washington, Qatar, and more—can use our services. Please note that each licensed product has its own eligibility criteria, and not all products are licensed at all locations.

Our objective is to reduce

  • Software license fees
  • Software administrative costs
  • The incidence of non-compliance and software piracy

Core Services: Software Acquisition and License Management

CU Software's core service is software acquisition and license management. We handle all the details involved in providing the lowest prices for the software the Cornell community uses.

We help the Cornell community

  • Identify software needs
  • Determine which software best meets those needs
  • Do research on software manufacturers and vendors
  • Arrange vendor demonstrations or presentations
  • Negotiate the best agreement possible
  • Develop cost-recovery pricing models for the software
  • Inform the Cornell community of software availability
  • Provide methods of ordering software
  • Distribute software
  • Fulfill requirements of vendor contracts
  • Manage billing, collecting, and reconciling designated accounts

We also provide installation and registration support for the software we manage.

CU Software currently manages 25 different license agreements for more than 100 products. Most of these agreements have annual or multi-year terms, which are continually evaluated and renewed. We encourage all departments to consider assigning their software licensing to us so the university can maximize its purchasing power.


CU Software uses the following general criteria to determine whether or not it is in the best financial interest of Cornell University for our office to centrally manage the license for a particular software title:

  • Broad appeal across campus
    At least 100 end-users across at least three different organizations (colleges, departments, administrative units).
  • Cost-recovered
    Interested campus partners guarantee that they will fully fund the contract. This usually means that end-users will need to pay an annual license fee for the software.
  • Low Price
    The price-point we can offer to campus will be at least twenty percent below the vendor's regular academic pricing.

Depending on the individual software title, there may be other criteria that influence the decision on whether or not we can offer a particular title.

If you would like to request that we consider managing a title that we do not currently offer, contact

In your email, include:

  • Name
  • NetID
  • Department
  • Unit
  • Software title and manufacturer
  • Operating System
  • Purpose
  • How urgently it's needed
  • Whether funding is available from your department
  • Whether you're aware of any other departments that need the software, and a point of contact.

Evaluation Process

  1. A campus user sends us a request to evaluate a software title.
  2. CU Software will contact the vendor and any other known sales channels to get an estimate on whether or not the software title meets our minimum "broad appeal across campus" standard. In general, we should know whether or not we meet that standard within two weeks of the initial submission of the request. We will let the requester know as soon as we have reached that decision.
  3. If the software appears to meet that standard, we would begin polling campus to determine the actual level of interest for the product.
  4. With the polling data, we would begin license negotiations with the vendor. The negotiations would include total cost of the contract and how we would distribute the software to campus users.
  5. Assuming that the negotiations go well, we would put together a potential cost recovery model that we believe would be acceptable to campus. The price to the end-user must be at least 20% below the vendor's normal academic retail price.
  6. Assuming that we can build a potentially viable cost recovery model, we would send out a pre-order commitment survey to campus, asking campus partners for financial commitments to the new software contract.
  7. Assuming that we are able to get enough commitments to cover the cost of the contract, we would then finalize the agreement, pay the vendor, convert the pre-orders into actual orders, and make the software available to subscribers to download, install, and activate.
  8. In general, assuming that everything goes pretty much as expected, we would hope to have a final arrangement in place within about 90 days of the start of the polling process.

To keep up with the latest news from CU Software Licensing, subscribe to the e-list. Send an email to:
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Other Sources

If CU Software does not offer the software product that you need, you have several options:

  • Check The Cornell Store to see if they offer a standard academic license for the product.
  • Review software that is available through us to see if we offer a similar product that can perform the task that you want to do.
  • Ask your local IT department to see if they have a local license for the product you need.
  • Contact The Cornell Store to place a special order for the product you're looking for.
  • Order the software from a third-party reseller or directly from the vendor. You may need to work with your local finance team to fill out a purchase order.
  • If you believe that the product you want is used widely enough at Cornell that a volume license agreement could be warranted, please let us know by providing the information under Our Criteria for Software Licensing (above), and we will begin the evaluation process.

Fees and Billing

The price of software licenses varies depending on a number of factors, including how many licenses for a particular piece of software can be purchased, to take advantage of volume pricing. Cornell Software Licensing strives to get the lowest prices possible for the licenses it manages.

Staff and faculty purchases of software licenses are charged to a University account number. Student purchases are charged to their Bursar account. All ordering and sales are conducted through the Cornell Store's volume purchasing e-commerce site, unless otherwise noted.

Terms and Conditions

Please see the page for the software you are interested in for terms and conditions specific to its license agreement. In general, software on this site is licensed to Cornell University and its use is strictly limited to subscribed Cornell faculty and staff at the main campus and affiliate facilities.

Service Details


For Fee

Regulated Data:

Not applicable or information not available.

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