Purchasing apps

The Volume Purchase Program (VPP)

Purchasing apps or books for iPads used in a school or business is different than purchasing apps or books for iPads used at home. At home, one can purchase an app or book once and use it on multiple devices. At school, however, we must purchase apps or books for iPads (and iPod touches) the same way we purchase software applications for desktop or laptop computers: if you have 10 computers on which you wish to have the same application installed, you must purchase 10 licenses of that software.


The same is true of apps or books purchased for iPads in schools. Since an app can only be purchased once for a given iTunes account (aka Apple ID), Apple has provided a method for schools to purchase multiple copies of an app or book. This method is a program called the Volume Purchase Program or VPP. In addition to helping schools stay on the right side of the law for software licensing, the VPP also offers volume discounts of 50 percent for some apps and books when purchased in quantities of 20 licenses or more at a time. For instance, all apps developed by Apple are offered at a 50 percent discount when 20 or more licenses are purchased at one time. Third-party app developers may also choose to offer their apps or books at a volume discount through the VPP for education. 


One point of clarification about the VPP is that even if you’re not buying 20 copies of an app or book, to stay in license compliance, you must use VPP to purchase the app or book if you’re buying an app or book for more than one device.


Another thing to know is that the program is for purchasing apps and books for iBooks, not other media for iTunes. While the process outlined below applies to both books and apps, only apps are referenced for the sake of brevity.


How the VPP works

Purchasing apps or books through the VPP is a multi-step process. First, the school FDCC or Admin Assistant orders an App Store Volume Voucher from Apple through the normal ASD purchasing process. The Volume Voucher is like a special iTunes gift card that can only be used for the VPP. When the Volume Voucher Code arrives at the school, school personnel use a special VPP Program Admin Apple ID to log into the Apple VPP site and redeem the voucher, putting a credit on the school’s account.


Next, the school’s Technology Collaborator or Elementary Tech Contact for the school uses the school’s Program Facilitator account to purchase app or book licenses, realizing the discount if purchasing 20 or more licenses for qualifying apps or books. IT recommends purchasing all apps using Managed Distribution.   Schools are responsible for maintaining a software license inventory for their app/book purchases made through the VPP. Check with the Educational Technology Department for a license inventory spreadsheet template in Google docs.


 Finally, the Technology Collaborator or Elementary Tech Contact obtains desired apps. IT will depoy the apps to the devices. The graphic below outlines the VPP process in the ASD:


School administration and tech support staff may contact the IT Help Desk for a reminder of their VPP Apple ID login information.

For more detailed information on the process of purchasing Volume Vouchers, please refer to the tutorial document “ASD Volume Voucher Purchase Process.”


For more detailed information on redeeming App Store Volume Vouchers and making app or books purchases through VPP, please refer to the tutorial document: “Purchasing Apps and Books Through Apple’s VPP

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