Ultimate Guide to Get GitHub Copilot for Free

GitHub Copilot promises to revolutionize coding through AI-powered suggestions, but its paid plans are out of reach for some. Luckily, qualified individuals can access Copilot for free – this guide explores how.

What is GitHub Copilot?

GitHub Copilot provides code completions, templates, and more as you program, learning from public repositories on GitHub. Integrated into editors, it aims to accelerate workflows through AI.

Who Qualifies for Free Access?

Three main groups can activate GitHub Copilot at no cost:

  1. Students (must verify enrollment)
  2. Teachers (ID verification required)
  3. Popular open-source contributors

Let’s examine each program in depth.


To Qualify:

  • Be enrolled in a degree/diploma-granting college or university program
  • Be aged 18+


  1. Verify enrollment on GitHub Campus partner SheerID.
  2. Receive email granting Student Developer Pack
  3. Activate Copilot within the pack

Renewal is required annually.


To Qualify:

  • Teach students aged 13+ full-time


  1. Verify teacher status via ID on ID.me
  2. Receive activation email
  3. Enable Copilot

Renewal after 12 months.

Open Source Contributors

To Qualify:

  • Maintain project with 1,000+ Stars/Forks monthly
  • Open source license


  1. Apply via web form
  2. Verify application
  3. Activate free access

Access lasts while active contributor.

Alternative Free Options

Should the above programs reject applications, alternatives exist:

  • Tabnine (students/maintainers)
  • Amazon CodeWhisperer (AWS users)
  • Bito (Python auto-complete)
  • Codeium (20+ languages)

All provide AI coding aids at no cost.

Using Copilot Free

Once activated, Copilot integrates with editors to suggest code as you program! Interfaces include:

Keep reading for additional tips!

How to Maximize Copilot Free

Here are the best practices for free users:

  • Understand suggestions limit reliance
  • Provide positive feedback to enhance AI
  • Attribute any borrowed code snippets
  • Leverage Copilot across other languages
  • View as a stepping stone to paid upgrades

Proper utilization amplifies every coding minute!

Frequently Asked Questions

Additional inquiries addressed:

How do I verify student/teacher status?
  • For students, you need to verify your status through SheerID by providing your student ID, official transcripts, or enrollment documents.
  • For teachers, you verify through ID.me by providing documents like your teacher ID, pay stubs, or letter from your school validating you as a teacher.
What if my open-source project isn’t popular enough?
  • To qualify through the open-source program, your project needs at least 1,000 Stars or Forks on GitHub and regular code contributions. If it doesn’t meet the criteria, you won’t be able to access Copilot for free through this route.
How long does free access last for each group?
  • For students and teachers, the free access period is 12 months before requiring re-verification of eligibility.
  • For open-source contributors, free access continues if you remain an active maintainer of an eligible project.
What editor/IDE integrations are supported?
  • Key supported editors include Visual Studio Code, JetBrains IDEs, GitHub CLI, Eclipse, Emacs, Vim, and other extensions through language servers.
Does Copilot pose any security or privacy risks?
  • GitHub claims Copilot does not store or have access to any user data or code. It is designed to respect privacy and security best practices.
What if I don’t qualify for any free program?
  • You can consider trying alternative AI assistants with generous free tiers like Tabnine, Bito, or Codeium that don’t require verification.


By comprehending GitHub’s generous free access routes, students, educators, and developers gain an invaluable edge through AI-powered programming. With care and diligence, Copilot, available gratis, unlocks creativity for qualified individuals everywhere. Technology-affirming education worldwide has never been more achievable.

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