Microsoft Developer Network - Academic Alliance (MSDN AA) is the easiest and most inexpensive way for students and faculty in the technology and design fields to get the latest Microsoft software they need (through educators and Institutional Access).  MSDN AA refers to a family of memberships available to meet the different needs of the academic audience.

MSDN AA is a per department license and any student registered to take a course in that department is eligible to install on their personal computer, any/all software available in MSDN AA, for non-commercial use. The software they obtain does not have to be used/needed for a course. Students do not have to take out the software when they complete the course or even when they graduate.

Additionally, the software can be loaded on any number of instructional and research computer in the department.

Eligibility: Students in STEM-D (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Design) departments.

Uses: The software must be used for learning/instructional and research purposes.

Students: Students must be taking at least one credit course offered by the member department to install the software on their personal machines for use in coursework and personal development projects (i.e. software can be used for out-of-class self study and does not need to be related to / used for an in-class course).

Computers: As a member, a department receives an MSDN AA subscription that Microsoft platform, servers, and developer tools software. This software may be installed on any number of departmental lab machines, and on student, educator, and staff computers.

Restrictions: The software may not be used for commercial purposes to develop and maintain your own administrative or IT systems. EULA

Department sign-up: http://msdn.microsoft.com/academic/program/

Price: 3-year membership is $1,025 and 1-year membership is $499

Software distribution: Department registers for MSDN AA at http://msdnaa.net, provides password access for eligible students; students download software and product keys from cloud hosted application sever.

Software Included: Software included in MSDN AA are:

    1. Visual Studio 2008, 2005, 2003 [Pro, VSTS, VSTO, Development languages and tools]
    2. XNA Game Studio 3.0 with 12 month free membership to XNA Creators Club Academic Membership
    3. Robotics Developer Studio 2008 Academic Edition
    4. Expression Tools [Studio, Expression Web, Blend, and Media]
    5. Operating Systems & SDKs [Windows Vista Business, XP Pro, Compute Cluster, Platform SDKs, DX]
    6. Enterprise Servers [Windows Server 2008/3 (32 & 64-bit), SQL Server 2008/5 (32 & 64-bit), SharePoint Portal Server, Exchange Server, BI Tools, BizTalk, etc.]
    7. Applications [Microsoft Project Pro 2007, Project Server 2007, Visio Standard & Pro 2007, Groove 2007 and Groove Server 2007, MapPoint, SharePoint Portal, Virtual Server, etc.]
    8. IT Academy Student Pass Trainings
    9. MSDN Library

The products not explicitly covered are Microsoft Office and Microsoft Games, as they are not developer tools.

Additional details are at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-au/academic/bb676724.aspx