Office 365 vs. G-Suite for K-12 Education

Microsoft's Office 365 for educators and Google's Workspace for Education or G-Suite are both powerful productivity suites for K-12 educators. These programs are changing the face of education as they evolve to become more user-friendly and productive. The trend of integrating G-Suite with Chromebook and Office 365 on Windows laptops has led educators to question which is better. The ultimate difference is that Office 365 has a robust variety of advanced features, while G-Suite offers easy collaboration and requires no internal storage space. Although both suites offer solutions, there are significant details that separate these two services from one another.

The Pros and Cons of Office 365 for Schools

Microsoft originally built Office for the offline desktop experience. Now, Office 365 offers the option to work online. Many of Microsoft's productivity suite programs have become household names known for their word processing, spreadsheet management and slideshow presentation.


  • Cost: Office 365 is available for free at most educational institutions. If it is not available for free,  the software license costs $3.25 per user on a monthly basis.
  • User interface (UI): The Office suite has a simplistic, user-friendly interface for beginners and advanced settings for power users.
  • Security: Office 365 has age-related features for students and regulatory compliance with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).  
  • Features: Office 365's offline features are typically more detailed and advanced than cloud-based software.


  • Size: Although Office 365 desktop apps have a small file size, they are not entirely cloud-based, so the suite uses more storage space. When integrating with low-cost, web application-focused laptops, this storage space makes a significant difference.
  • Collaboration: Apps like Microsoft Word are excellent for offline editing but do not offer optimum performance for live collaboration.  
  • Speed: Office 365 offers advanced features, but these same features also cause slower load times and speed.

Pros and Cons of G-Suite for Schools

Google built the G-Suite with the online collaborative experience in mind and included the option to work offline. G-Suite has become the leader for quick, easy online collaboration across email, documents, spreadsheets and cloud storage.  


  • Cost: G-Suite offers most schools the software service for free. When it is not free, the software price is $4 per user per month.
  • Size: Since the G-Suite works in the cloud, there is no storage space required on the computer.
  • Security: The G-Suite offers age-based features and restrictions to meet regulatory statutes like the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
  • Collaboration: The G-Suite is at the forefront of virtual collaboration. For example, Google Docs allows users to share a link so that teammates can edit and comment on a document in real time.


  • UI: G-Suite's slide-out panels have many options with unclear directions. The programs are fairly user-friendly, but they do require a learning curve.
  • Features: Since Google designed G-Suite for the cloud, the apps have less customizability and in-depth features than larger, offline alternatives.
  • Templates: G-Suite offers far fewer templates than its competitors. This missing selection slows down the creation of presentations, spreadsheets and documents.

Consider the Devices Already in Place at Your School

The creators of Office 365 and G-Suite designed these programs to integrate with their respective operating systems, Windows and Chrome. This matching design can increase productivity for teachers and simplify the learning process for students.

In fact, the G-Suite integrates perfectly with the Chromebook. These laptops are a low-cost solution for students and schools since they require less computing power to work with web-based applications. This intentional design is why school administration should consider pairing a Chromebook with the G-Suite and a Windows laptop with Office 365.

Get Higher Ground Cases to Safeguard Your Devices

Whichever productivity suite you choose, Higher Ground offers premium protective cases that shield Chromebooks and Windows laptops. The company produces durable products made for drop protection with a stylish, easy-grip design and a lifetime product guarantee schools can trust.

Want to sample a product or receive a quote? Contact Higher Ground at 888-662-4300 or fill out a quote form and receive your free sample today.

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