Originally introduced as a beta program, Figma's free access initiative has gained significant traction. To date, 50 high schools across the nation have already benefited from complimentary access to both Figma and FigJam, a collaborative whiteboard tool. While Figma already offers a free version, it imposes limitations, allowing users only three files per program. However, with this new initiative, schools can access Figma Enterprise, the most advanced tier, at no cost. Typically priced at $75 per person monthly, Figma Enterprise offers unlimited files, individual and shared project options, dedicated workspaces, and a range of sophisticated design features. This comprehensive suite of tools equips students with the resources they need to unleash their creativity and produce visually captivating designs.
Accessibility and Requirements
To utilize Figma, schools will need Chromebooks, although the program is not exclusive to Google systems. Schools with non-Google devices can also apply for access, widening the reach of Figma's advanced design capabilities. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 94 percent of schools provided devices such as laptops and tablets to students who required them during the 2022-2023 academic year. With widespread device availability, Figma's free access initiative ensures that more students can take advantage of its powerful design tools.
Navigating Regulatory Challenges
The fate of Figma appears uncertain following its acquisition agreement with Adobe in September 2022, valued at an astounding $20 billion. Antitrust regulators in the United States, United Kingdom, and European Union are currently investigating whether the deal violates competition policies. The US Justice Department has been reported to be preparing an antitrust lawsuit to block the merger, and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the UK has initiated an inquiry into the agreement. Additionally, European antitrust regulators are expected to commence their own investigation later this year. Despite these regulatory hurdles, Figma remains committed to providing free access to students, showcasing their dedication to supporting education.
Positive Reviews and Global Expansion
Educators involved in the beta program have expressed enthusiasm and provided positive reviews of Figma's free access initiative. They have witnessed firsthand how Figma's tools enhance student engagement, promote creativity, and foster critical thinking skills. Educators across the United States can now sign up to bring Figma to their schools, expanding the program's reach and impact. Furthermore, Figma is embarking on a global expansion of its Chromebook partnership, starting with Google schools in Japan. This step not only highlights Figma's commitment to revolutionizing education in the United States but also signals their intention to have a positive influence on education worldwide.