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Figma is now free for all US school students

Instead of pen and paper, many students are now carrying a laptop with them, using it for everything from taking notes to doing research. Companies are responding with programs designed for tech-centric learning, including Figma, a cloud-based design tool. The company has announced that Figma is now free for all US students in K-12, in partnership with Google for Education. The initiative started in beta last year, with 50 high schools across the country getting free access to Figma and FigJam, a collaborative whiteboard.

While Figma offers a free version, it only allows users to have three files for each program. Instead, schools can access the company’s most advanced tier, Figma Enterprise, for free (typically $75 per person monthly). It includes unlimited files, individual and shared project options, dedicated workspaces and more sophisticated design features, among other perks. Schools will need Chromebooks to utilize the program, but they can apply for access if they have non-Google systems. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 94 percent of schools provided devices like laptops and tablets to students who needed them for the 2022 to 2023 school year.

Figma’s fate is a bit up in the air after Adobe entered into an agreement to buy the competitor in September 2022 for $20 billion in cash and shares. Regulators across the US, UK and EU are investigating whether the deal violates antitrust policies, with the first barrier emerging in February with reports that the US Justice Department was preparing an antitrust lawsuit to block the deal. The UK followed in May with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announcing it was launching an inquiry into the agreement. Most recently came reports that European antitrust regulators plan to initiate an investigation into the merger later this year.

As for free Figma access for students, the initiative holds promise, with the company sharing positive reviews from educators involved in the beta program. Educators can now sign up to bring Figma to their schools in the US — plus, the company is taking its Chromebook partnership global, starting with Google schools in Japan.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/figma-is-now-free-for-all-us-school-students-105514037.html?src=rss

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