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AWS Educate

The AWS Educate Service provides for in-course instructional use of Amazon Web Services. By carefully tailoring student access to the AWS console and tracking spending, this service provides a risk-limited way to expose students to the tools commonly used in cloud-computing environments.


The AWS Educate Service is available only for student academic use in for-credit courses, and must be requested each term by the instructor or instructional support staff. For research or administrative requests, please refer to the Research and Administrative/Enterprise Cloud Request Forms on UC San Diego's Cloud Services documentation.


EC2 Virtual Machines

The most common use of AWS Educate allows students access to use the AWS EC2 console to launch their own virtual machines. Students may select the machine image that their container launches with, allowing them to perform work on the specialized tools provided by those images on their own VMs. Typically, students may choose a nano, micro, or small general purpose burstable instance types, so these machines are well suited to small projects that need moderate amounts of compute capability. If funding is available, other resources - larger instance types or a greater number of instances - may be considered to accommodate more resource-intensive projects.

Other AWS Resources

Through AWS Educate, we can provide access to other resources on a per-class or per-student basis. Any service whose usage can be constrained within manageable bounds to ensure a single student cannot accidentally exhaust our limited funding can be considered for instructional use. 

The most successful example is Sagemaker, a machine learning platform that has been used successfully in classes to analyze a variety of large user-generated datasets. 

Other services are considered on a case-by-case basis, depending on whether it can be provided securely and without exposing the program to financial risk from accidental or intentional over-use or mis-use. Some services that have been provided in the past include Fargate, S3, Lambda, and RDS.

For a more comprehensive list of services we offer, see: Instructor Guidance for AWS Educate: Services Offered


EC2 instances and other AWS services are funded by grants provided by Amazon on a per-course basis. We currently aggregate these requests and submit them on behalf of instructors. For each quarter of instruction, our deadline to submit is the 10th week of the prior term.  Due to budget constraints, funding for late requests is not guaranteed. Resources will be available to students once Amazon provides funding, typically by the first day of classes.

How to Request

Instructors and instructional support staff may request EC2 instances and other AWS services for their students by submitting a Computer Labs and Software (CINFO) request for each class. Because late requests cannot be funded, we recommend that you submit your request as soon as possible.

Use Review Your Requests to find a previous request to clone, or click New Request; select your course on the first page; select EC2 Virtual Machines on the second page; and describe what resources students need and how they will be used in the Comments on the last page.

When you submit your request, you will receive a notification that a case has been created on the Services & Support Helpdesk. If your request requires anything beyond basic EC2 Virtual Machines, please reply to your support case with any details we might need to consider whether and how to provide the resources you are requesting.

How to Access

We will send an email to the instructor when AWS Educate resources are available, will confirm which resources students may use, and how to access the AWS console.

Although instructors and students use the industry-standard AWS Console to launch resources, they must log in to that console using an authentication gateway we provide. For classes using only EC2 Virtual Machines, instructors and students will typically log in by visiting the UC San Diego AWS Educate Gateway, which guides users to a link that connects them to the AWS Console with their course privileges.

From there, they must follow our specific guide to Launch an EC2 Virtual Machine, as some limitations in place for security and resource management affect what options may be selected when launching a VM.

Students in classes using other tools may need to log in using a different link, which we will provide to the instructor. 

Personal Cloud Services

Students who would like cloud computing resources for non-instructional, personal projects may review the Alternatives heading on the Launch an EC2 Virtual Machine page.