2 yrs later same request. Please bring back the free student license

Back in 2019 I made this same plea. The thread had 9.3k views 97 replies and 420 likes.
I started using and teaching SketchUp 15 years ago. It was a perfect, entry-level tool for my undergraduates who had never used CAD tools before. But when Trimble stopped the educational license access to Pro I stopped teaching it. I teach at a small state school where the vast majority of our students are first-gen and low income. Our budgets get cut every year, we’re trying to keep the lights on. The $55 student license and roughly $1.5k a year lab license might seem very small to your CFO, but students using food banks can’t afford it and won’t pay it when EVERY other CAD company in the world from the mega-giants to little European start ups offers a free educational license. My dean won’t let me buy SketchUp when he knows that I can use Autodesk and Vectorworks for free. Your salespeople have repeatedly dismissed me saying, “well, as soon as they graduate, they’ll pay thousands for those” (as recently as yesterday) except that’s what they will have been trained on because I can’t teach them your software because you insist on $55 licenses. This is such a short-sighted policy. Every year that goes by is another graduating class that has never used SketchUp. I’m in touch with colleagues all over the nation and many have given up on SketchUp for the same reason. Higher-ed is under attack and students are crushed under every increasing debt. Please let us introduce new designers and artists to your tool. Please reconsider your academic license. And everyone else, please don’t reply telling me that $55 is cheap, and Autodesk can afford it, and they’ll pay more when they graduate, and all the other posts last time. I’m not worried about the students who know they will be designers, they will do and pay what it takes. They are happy to tackle the much steeper learning curve of Blender and Vectorworks. Its the low-income students who don’t know they can be designers who used to get their hands on SU17 and realized they could be creators and artists that I’m losing. The hardcore kids ignore SU and move on to the big tools. The shy and underprivileged kids can’t afford $55 for something they “might” use. That’s who I’m asking you to consider.


As an entry level learning tool the totally free web version is available.
It is an extremely capable tool that should be enough to get people to understand the 3d design principles.
The fact it doesn’t currently support plugins and extensions shouldn’t be an issue at the early stages.
I personally believe you should learn how to work without extensions first so you understand what it is you are automating with a plugin.


It doesn’t have Layout. If I just wanted them to play around in 3d they could use Tinker CAD or a dozen other toy-tools. They need to be able to export their work off the screen into a measured drawing format.
The dial pallets are also very confusing to beginners as are all the pop ups saying “Cool! Looks like you should upgrade!”