Microsoft is pushing to get the Surface RT tablet into schools, and it's using a massive price cut and a giveaway to do it. On Monday, the company cut prices by more than 50% for its 32GB Surface RT, as long as schools buy the tablet before September. A Surface RT normally sells for $499 at retail, but Microsoft will drop the price to $199 for schools. That's the same price at a Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire, and much less than the $399 price Apple charges schools for the 16GB iPad 2. With a Touch Cover, the Surface RT will be discounted to $249 — normally this combo sells for $599. And a Surface RT with a Type Keyboard cover, which is priced at $629 for everybody else, will be sold to schools for $289 in the promotion. At retail, the Surface RT has been a slow-seller so far, but such dramatic price cuts might make the tablet more appealing to schools, especially since it ships pre-loaded with Office.

The education discount follows an earlier announcement by Microsoft that it would give 10,000 Surface RT tablets away to teachers attending the International Society for Technology Education convention in San Antonio June 23-26. The discount program, which was first reported by ZDNet, ends August 31. There doesn't appear to be any minimum purchase requirements, but it's only good while supplies last. It's also only available to K-12 schools and universities, and not individual students.