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The Top 6 Free and Open Source School Administration Software

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UPDATE 11/3/2016: This article has been updated from its original content to reflect feedback and software updates from existing options in the article.

When I was in high school, there were constant talks about what could and could not be funded by my school. As I grew older, I realized just how expensive it had become to educate a single child in the United States. As of 2012-13, the cost of educating a single student for one year reached as high as $12,296 per year.

And that’s for public schools.

While the cost of administration only accounts for $829 of the total amount spent per student each year, it doesn’t hurt to find ways to cut back on unnecessary costs.

f and os school admin copy

In order to aid in this cost reduction while maintaining order on the technology front, there are plenty of free school administration software options to choose from. Here are the top six free and open-source school administration software platforms.

8. FeKara

2015-10-22_11_11_01-FeKara

FeKara, just like School Time, is an all around school admin powerhouse, so long as you are running an operation with 50 students or less.

Pros: FeKara is a clean and modern school administration and management software option which covers everything from exams and assignments to budgeting and internal messaging for all staff. FeKara even includes a mobile app which can work on all tablets and smartphones for convenient on-the-go use.

Cons: Similar to School Time, FeKara is limited by the amount of students, bandwidth, and storage which can be managed on the free version of its software. FeKara is free for schools as long as they remain under fifty students and five teachers in their system, which limits the free use of this software to much smaller schools. If you upgrade one step up, FeKara charges $0.20 per student with unlimited teachers, and finally, their highest paid tier offers unlimited students and teachers for a one-time charge of $350.

7. School Time

2015-10-21_11_39_04-School_Management_System-School_Management_Software_SchoolTime

If you are a smaller school, such as a private elementary or preschool with 50 students or less, the free version of School Time may be just what you are looking for.

Pros: No financial obligations or credit cards are required for the free version of the program and it never expires. Features include board management, grading systems, library databases, exam management, transportation, attendance, and even dormitory management.

Cons: The most obvious con would have to be the limit on the amount of students that can be accounted for in the free version of School Time. Of course this issue can be solved by upgrading to the not-so-free versions of School Time, but doing so would negate the “free and open source” solution you were looking for. So, as long as your school falls at or below 50 students, School Time can be a fit for you.

6. TS School

TS School, or Time Software School, is a classic powerful tool that offers the basics for schools of all sizes.

Free School Administration Software

Pros: TS School is great for managing your workforce—it has a powerful human resources module to help manage your school’s staff. TS School also offers a robust student management system, reports, a powerful organizational calendar (with plenty of space to detail sports team timetables or organize classes by subject matter), and an exam module for teachers.

Cons: There are some notable features lacking in TS School that can be found in the paid version, including customizable reports, development, inventory, safety, and admissions. TS School may also present a challenge to teachers who have never worked with school administration software before, as some claim it is not immediately intuitive to use.

5. Fedena

Fedena is an open-source school administration software that largely focuses on handling records.

fedena

Pros: Fedena offers unlimited administration and student logins to use their system, along with unlimited courses and batches. The system was developed using Ruby on Rails, so schools can easily customize the code to their school’s needs. The system includes human resources, a calendar, financial management, examination management, and student/parent logins.

Cons: Fedena is the free version of another school administration software of the same name. When comparing the free version to the paid version, it becomes clear that the open-source version is lacking in a number of features, including inventory, custom reports, registration, and discipline.

4. Ascend SMS

Principal dashboard

Ascend SMS is an entirely free full-program school administration software made for Catholic and Independent schools. Ascend SMS proudly notes, “AscendSMS does not believe schools should have to pay exorbitant prices for something they fundamentally need to make their school work.”

Pros: Ascend SMS offers a complete package. From offering a health management system for the school nurse to a mobile app for parents to a simple discipline reporting system, Ascend SMS offers more than many paid school administration software options. Administrators will be particularly attracted to their heavy reporting feature, which quickly provides information on ACR, school vitality, student performance, and more.

Cons: Ascend SMS is only free to Catholic and Independent schools. Ascend SMS also limits the number of schools that it adds to its system each year.

3. SchoolTool

SchoolTool is a cloud-based open-source school administration software made for schools in the developing world.

Free School Administration Software

Pros: SchoolTool has a ton of features that largely appeal to teachers. It provides educators with what they need to run their classrooms (gradebooks, skill assessment documents, class attendance sheets, and daily participation journals), strong organization features (including a calendar that plugs in with popular calendar applications like Google Calendar), and a great report card generator. SchoolTool was made with Python, is largely secure, and is run on Linux Ubuntu.

Cons: SchoolTool is a great starting software for smaller schools, but it isn’t an all-inclusive piece of software. For example, schools will have to find other applications to do human resources, reporting, and financial management. SchoolTool is far more a tool for teachers than it is for administrators. SchoolTool has announced as of October 17, 2016 that their primary developers have moved onto other projects, so while outside developers have access to the source code to make improvements, the main team will not be contributing to future updates. It remains to be seen whether or not this will affect the software’s performance in the long run, but the uncertainty doesn’t help in terms of confidence in performance.

2. Gibbon

Gibbon gives new meaning to “all-in-one” software. Gibbon is an open-source “school platform” that not only deals with school administration, but also provides features and services for teachers.

Gibbon (1)

Pros: Gibbon offers a vast array of features including administration tools dealing with finance, staff management, payroll, invoicing, departmenting, and schedules. Gibbon also deals with the teaching tools and assessment access for parents, including grade books, rubrics, assessments, planner tools, and library catalogues.

The clean user-interface also helps in regards to the learning curve inherent in adopting a new software system.

Cons: Software maintenance for Gibbon is quite technical, requiring coding knowledge, which is standard for open-source software. Support is limited to online guides written out for administrators, teachers, and parents if they experience issues, however written support will never replace helpful live support.

The lack of any transcript features also deducts from its otherwise large features base.

1. OpenSIS Open Source

OpenSIS is a free, open-source platform designed for K-12, regardless of if they are charter, private, or state-run schools. OpenSIS is best suited for small and medium schools with a knowledgeable IT staff.

library_screen4

Pros: While OpenSIS offers both free and paid versions of its software, its free version has substantial features. Schools can use this software to maintain transcripts, health records, attendance, demographic information, scheduling, gradebooks, and custom reports. OpenSIS boasts a 4.8/5 star rating on SourceForgeOpenSIS also offers integration with Moodle LMS software in its latest software updates, making user info creation and management for students, staff, and teachers much easier.

Cons: To take full advantage of OpenSIS Community, IT members will have to be familiar with PostgreSQL. The free version does not offer discipline, class portals, billing, or state reporting.

Honorable Mention: ThinkWave Online Gradebook

gradebook

While ThinkWave’s Online Gradebook is not a full school administration option, but it is the best free gradebook option for small schools.

Pros: This intuitive system is easy for teachers to learn and use and it’s compatible with most operating systems and browsers.  The free version offers flexible grading options, so teachers can stress the grade impact of certain projects and tests over others. It includes 25 MB of storage for online assignments and allows both parents and students to access the portal.

Cons: Like so many other free cloud software, ThinkWave Online Gradebook is ad-supported. ThinkWave does not provide technical support or SSL encryption—unless users upgrade to the Premium edition for $49.95 a year.

Conclusion

It is true that many other free software tools exist all over the web, many of them are restricted by feature limits, operating system requirements, or user limitations. While many schools will find solace in using these free options, not every school is looking for a smaller, free software system. If you these free and open-source school administration systems don’t quite cut it, there are plenty of other paid options to choose from.

If you have recently transitioned to a paid system, be sure to leave a review on our page so that we will stay up-to-date with user experiences!

Looking for School Administration software? Check out Capterra's list of the best School Administration software solutions.

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About the Author

Nick Morpus

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Nick Morpus is a Content Writer for Capterra, a free resource that matches buyers and sellers of business software. He has a background in politics, economics, and journalism, which he dedicates his off-time to contributing his thoughts to other political sites. In his free-time he enjoys reading, playing guitar, writing, cooking, and dominating the world of video games.

Comments

School Time, https://school-time.co is soon coming up with a free version.

Thanks for this meaningful post it is relay informative and useful.TechVidyalay is complete online School management application that can manage overall working of your institution and have a control over its day to day activities. Here parents can also access this software to keep track of their children’s performance at school. For more information visit us at:–> http://www.techvidyalay.com

Fekara is management software for educational institutions for learning, administration and management activities.

The post was very informative and has helped with my search of a solid open source platform. BeeConnect App is also a very affordable communication tool, that teachers can use and send messages/updates to parents. It is also very intuitive and fun to use. For more information please visit us at: http://www.beeconnectapp.com

Great post!

Don’t forget spiceworks.com for your school’s IT guy/gal and their networking/tech support needs.

http://www.spiceworks.com/

Different from other tech support software, Spiceworks is absolutely free. You’ll never be asked for your credit card, so definitely a time saver for IT. Schools love us!

Hi! This is very informative. I went through all the above. I need assistance though. I am in Botswana, a developing African country. I am part of a team managing tertiary government institutions (We train in the field of health). We have used purchased systems before but those never really worked to our satisfactory. I need to understand more about open source systems and which one would really meet our needs especially admissions, examinations, timetabling and reports

Does it matter that the terms and conditions of most of these “free” platforms allows for the software vendor to collect, dissect, and sell all the data that they collect on the KIDS?

I think paying for a system is much better than exposing our kids.

I am seeking for best distance education software (commercial version)for our school. Can anybody help me? Emai: kamal@lilamghar.com

very informative article, working on one.

Thank you for this meaningful compilation. However i am still confused as to which software (open preferably, or paid) will be suitable for us. We are a medium-sized (about 250 pupils) elementary school in Lagos, Nigeria. Having used a couple of locally built software and found them not quite useful and very expensive, we are desperate to find one that will serve our needs and yet be kind to our pockets. May we count on your kind assistance?

http://www.dchoolle.com best school management and information system

Very Useful information you provided. I am using SchoolTime From your listings. it is best software with reasonable pricing. i loved it..

Hello Everyone?

Any body can tell me is there is any software that is free of cost for school management. If it exists kindly reply me or send link or email me waqar.rehmat1993@gmail.com
i will be very thankful to you if anybody will favor for me.

great information provided. Thanks for sharing

Very informative stuff Rachel. I also want to mention here about the Campus, recently launched school management software by FATbit. Built by experienced team of analysts and programmers, the web based college/university management system solves challenging tasks for college staff, higher management, and also students.

Wao, this information if very supportive. Thanks

Thanks a lot its really informative post, i am seeking SIS for university level can anyone help against the strong SIS system? farzazanakhann@gmail.com

“Nortify” is FREE leading school information system in Africa

Nice Post!!! But you guys seem to be missing one software Nortify… This is a Cloud based app. Has a Basic Version which is absolutely FREE!!! check it out on http://nortify.com.ng/

Provide free of fee school manangement softwar

FET is one of the best timetable program for school and university , and free and gpl.

http://lalescu.ro/liviu/fet/

I prefer SchoolTime it is a very user friendly software.They are giving us 24/7 support and pricing also reasonable

Thank you for this informative article

A good list, thanks for sharing. It is a shame to not see Gibbon (https://gibbonedu.org) on this list. As its founder I am definitely biased, but still think it would make a good fit : )

I am trying out Gibbon however the lack of transcripts features is really killing it for me. I really had high hope for this awesome looking sis.

Would definitely recommend Gibbon. Multilingual and in use in schools and universities around the world. Comprehensive core and an ever increasing number of additional modules which are totally free.

let me know is there any Freeware which gives full features without any cost?

Hi,

We’re just getting started with a small private college in the UK. It will be starting with two courses (to be run consecutively). However, we want to put the systems in place from the start which will allow for growth as we develop. Is there a software that you can recommend that would be appropriate for a setup like ours?

I Like this below.
4. Ascend SMS
5. Fedena

Thanks for this post. please i need a complete school administration software (free version or one time payment) that i will be able to upload on my hosting server and have access to the database.
Thank you for your response.

I’m a fairly new teacher in the Bahamas, my school does not use any of the above software. The one that stood out to me most is ASCEND SMS and it’s free. I like the information provided. Thanks for sharing.

Unfortunately, it looks like the main developers of SchoolTool are moving on.

https://launchpad.net/schooltool-project/+announcement/14281

Smart Edu is completely free school and college automation software with rich fratures with more value added features. They providing even cloud hosting and mobile app for free to help institution in digital transformation.
http://www.appimagine.com/school-college-management-software

Definitly gibbon is oir choice, perfect platform, customizable, no payments, i receive assistant from their creators. You can add free modules if you need them.

How about EduKiran.com ? This is also free to use and can customize for your college.

I looking for a program that is solely CD based. We have NO internet at our location. We’re a K-12, 35 students, Christian school. Any suggestions?

I tried to use Fekara based on the good review given here. Sadly, I decided to stop after less than a week due to their poor to non-existent customer service. Not a recommendable piece of management solution. It is based out of Pakistan so communications in English if you get to talk to anybody ‘live’ most probably be another nightmarish experience.

Rubycampus is also a free institution management software, Most of the essential features for an institution is coming in free version with mobile app.

http://www.rubycampus.com/features

Thanks for sharing the valuable information regarding the School ERP Software. This really gives an idea to new users who want to deploy the education Software for tracking the entire campus activities.
It’s quite similar to our product i.e. Any Time Student Information (ATSI) Software. but the main advantage of our product is that you can get all the application in a single education software instead of buy individual software to manage the schools.

Thanks so much for sharing, i will try one of these out…still deciding. My school is still small, so I’m not in a hurry to pay.

Presenting the new Time and attendance that also called rfid attendance system using Biometric attendance machine and fingerprint reader for attendance tracking of students and employee, with unlimited free bulk sms…Visit our website now http://gomyschool.in/UseRFAttendance.aspx

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Nice to know about Open Source School Administration Software. Your explanation is to clear. The pros and crons are very useful to understand the full school administration option.

We provide School software that helps different types of schools from all over the world by providing the best ERP services.

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