Free cross-platform PDF editing?

In my job as a law professor I am the advisor to a student-run journal. As part of their editing process they like to have all source material digitized as pdf’s, stored in a central Google Drive account, and then later make highlights/comments on these sources that all members can access. For those students that have Macs, this is easy (and free) by using Preview. But, for those using Windows PCs, it seems an easy solution like this is more difficult. Right now, their solution is to ask the school to pay for full Adobe licenses at $180 a pop.

Does anyone know of a better solution – ideally free — for Windows users to just be able to make simple annotations on a PDF, as well as to delete pages, combine PDF’s, etc. I know there are some online/broswer-based solutions, but I would really prefer a local app solution if at all possible. I am open to creative solutions like using photos or something?

Microsoft word is capable of opening PDFs as word documents. It’s not perfect, but may be worth investigating.

Foxit Reader?

There is also a version of Adobe Reader which is free (be careful, there are multiple versions)

GDrive can handle PDF editing, and in this scenario where multiple users are likely to want to add comments, it’s what it was designed for. We use it at my work for collaborating with designers.

I’ve had a quick skim of this link and it seems to be sensible: Guide on how to annotate a PDF in Google Drive -

I don’t see the value in importing the pdf to Google docs so skip that option (second on the list), just comment on the pdf directly (first scenario on the list).