Yesterday, Microsoft announced the DreamSpark program, where "verified students" at universities in eleven countries can download free copies of many Microsoft development tools and platforms, (such as Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition, SQL Server 2005 Developer Edition, Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition, Microsoft Expression Studio, and XNA Game Studio).
This is a great program that ties into one of Microsoft’s historical strengths, which is the combination of pervasiveness, and ease of use of their tools and technologies. Over the years, Microsoft has practically given away their development tools, and has done a great job of pushing out information about how to use them (with MSDN, TechNet, TechEd, the PDC, etc.), all of which support the value of Windows as a compelling platform, (which obviously helps Microsoft long term).
Now, they actually are giving away serious versions of their tools to university students. I just checked, and I see that Denver University is not listed as one of the schools yet (in fact I did not see CU or CSU either). I’ll be poking people I know at DU to see if they can get on the list.