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Microsoft VDA FAQs

Any student needing to remote to university owned Windows computers or Windows virtual machines from a personal device will need to be licensed with a named user license of Microsoft Virtual Desktop Access (VDA).

This includes graduate students and research students. It also applies to any faculty or staff members who are identified as “no pay” employees or retirees or who is not licensed with an M365 A3 license. If you are unsure, please contact Software Licensing Management. (

NC State purchases Microsoft M365 A3 licenses for faculty and staff which includes remote access rights. Under the terms of the licensing, NC State is permitted to license students at a 40:1 ratio giving students access to Office 365 and other Active Directory Services, but it does not provide any remote access rights.

No, unless they are not covered under the university’s Microsoft M365 A3 license. This typically only affects “no-pay” employees or if the individual is a retiree or emeritus faculty. You can contact if you would like to check the licensing status of individual users.

How much will Microsoft Virtual Desktop Access (VDA) named user licenses cost?

According to Microsoft, the current cost for each VDA named user license is approximately $16.52 per user.

The licensing is valid for one year. Each year Software Licensing Management will conduct a new census and update counts and named user assignments.

On an annual basis, Software Licensing Management will reach out to each college and department and ask for the number of users who will need to be licensed for VDA in order to identify the licensing counts.

If a college or department needs to purchase additional licensing outside of the annual census, they can contact to make the request.

Not immediately. If you buy a named user license for a student, that student is licensed for at least the semester. Once the semester is over, the named user license can be transferred to a different user.

Any time a student connects from a personal computer or device to a university machine running Windows, the student will need a VDA license

No. The license only applies when students connect to university owned devices running Windows.

You can learn more about how the VCL is affected by these licensing changes in their FAQ.