Apple’s education discount ‘loophole’ is back!

Apple’s education discount ‘loophole’ is back!

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Apple education discounts available again without student verification
Home school teachers can once again get Apple education discounts.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The U.S. Apple Store for Education reversed a recent change Friday, dropping the requirement that shoppers prove they are a university student or teacher before they can get products at a discount. This surely comes as a relief for home-school teachers. But it’s also good news for anyone willing to fib to get a discount.

It’s not clear if this is a temporary rollback or a permanent change, though.

U.S. Apple Store for Education ends verification process

Earlier this week, the U.S. Apple Store for Education started asking consumers to verify their eligibility to receive educational discounts. It used UniDays, a third-party service, to handle the verification process.

But now that requirement is gone. Anyone can go to the Apple Store for Education website and shop for Macs or iPads.

That said, the discounts are only supposed to be for “current and newly accepted college students and their parents, as well as faculty, staff, and homeschool teachers of all grade levels,” according to Apple.

But the Mac-maker essentially takes customers’ word about their status. Still, Apple reserves the right to check later to see if shoppers really qualify, and bill them the extra cost for the gear they bought if they lied to get a discount. How often that actually happens remains unknown, however.

Why Apple went back on the honor system for education discounts

Apple did not announce either of these changes to its educational website, so the company’s reasoning is unknown. But it might be because of limitations in the verification process.

UniDays can confirm whether someone is a university student, but the educational discounts are also supposed to be open to home-school teachers and parents of university students. Also, some customers reported that the verification system blocked university teachers and staffers without current student IDs.

At this point, it’s not clear if Apple decided to temporarily remove the UniDays verification requirement until bugs can be worked out, or if it’s gone for good.

Note that this applies only in the United States. Apple U.K. has long used UniDays to confirm that shoppers are students or educators.