Before Microsoft launched the Surface RT tablet last year, there was a lot of hype and expectation that the price would be well below that of the iPad. When it eventually turned out it would be more expensive, many were disappointed. It appears that Microsoft is changing the price now, offering a better deal on a Windows tablet if you’re a student.

Announced by Microsoft Australia this week, the 32GB Surface RT tablet that currently occupies a $559 recommended retail price slot in stores across the country will be able to be purchased by educational institutions for $219.

Microsoft’s Surface RT is built like a tablet and is all touchscreen, but the keyboard cover can be purchased with the tablet, bringing the price to $279 for the Surface RT with the basic touch keyboard cover and $319 with the physical key-based “type” keyboard cover, down from $679 and $708 respectively.

The tablets will come with Microsoft Office Home and Student edition for 2013, meaning Word, Powerpoint, Excel, and OneNote are offered, as is 2GB RAM, a quad-core processor, microSDXC slot, WiFi, and Bluetooth, and the built in stand that sits on both the Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets.

About the only thing missing is full support for Windows applications, as being an RT-based tablet – the version of Windows made for ARM processors and not the typical x86 and x64 design used more commonly – you’ll find applications made for Windows 7, Vista, and XP won’t run on the Surface RT.

While we had hoped this would be the sort of deal any student could get in on, it appears Microsoft is offering this to educational institutions at this time, and not directly to teachers and students.

If you’re a student or a parent of students itching to get a Surface RT at the lesser price point, it might be an idea to contact the school with the information.