Get Free Private Github Repositories Through GitHub Education

We’ve written a fair amount about GitHub here at ProfHacker. To cite just a few examples, Lincoln described how to fork syllabi using GitHub, George outlined how to preserve your Twitter archive using GitHub Pages, and Konrad wrote a long series introducing the basics of GitHub in detail.

I resisted GitHub for a long time, against the advice of my fellow Profs. Hacker and other colleagues, but recently have moved toward using it to store code related to my teaching and my research, as well to host sites for classes and research projects. In the coming weeks I plan to write tutorials outlining precisely how I’ve been building class and project pages using RStudio or Jekyll paired with GitHub Pages, but first I wanted to recall those previous posts so that interested readers can set up their own GitHub accounts, which they will need to follow those tutorials.

In the meantime, however, I wanted to share exciting news I learned only very recently from a colleague. In his Getting Started with GitHub post, Konrad noted,

GitHub accounts are free, and remain so as long as you allow your repositories be open source and available to the world. You only have to get a paid account if you wish to have private repositories protected from prying eyes.

This is generally true, but sometimes academics might want a private repository: for a class website in progress, perhaps, or for other materials—such as, in my case, a promotion dossier in progress—that would benefit from GitHub’s versioning but cannot be made publicly available.

Fortunately, however—and this is what I did not realize until just months ago—GitHub offers free individual and team accounts through their GitHub Education program. Students 13 years and older can apply for the Student Developer Pack, which gives access to specialized tools and unlimited private repositories. Educators and/or researchers can apply for a free individual Developer plan, which also offers unlimited private repositories, as well as for free Team plans for academic groups, such as a classroom or a research project team.

The process is simple. Visit the GitHub Education page, click request a discount, log into your account, and fill out the form. You should use your institutional email account, if you have one, and you may have to upload a document demonstrating your affiliation. From there the GitHub Education team has to approve your request, which in my case took only a few hours.

I don’t have a huge need for private repositories, but it is nice to have the option, and has allowed me to benefit from GitHub on a few projects I wouldn’t have felt comfortable putting on GitHub otherwise. If you’re reading ProfHacker, there’s a good chance you’ll qualify for a free educational account as well.

Are you using GitHub for teaching and/or research, and if so did you know about GitHub Education? Tell us about how you’re using GitHub in the comments.