Microsoft announced today, DreamSpark, a new program that gives free developer, designer and related software to college students in 11 countries. DreamSpark goes live today in Belgium, China, Finland, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States, and gives away free stuff like Visual Studio, Expression Studio, and even Windows Server.

For gamers and game designers, an exciting inclusion in the program is the XNA Game Studio 2.0 software (as opposed to the free Express Edition), as well as a 12-month free membership in the XNA Creators Club, which means free running of XNA games on the Xbox 360.

The full list of free software:

  • Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition
  • Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition
  • XNA Game Studio 2.0
  • 12-month free membership in the XNA Creators Club
  • Expression Studio, which includes Expression Web, Expression Blend, Expression Design and Expression Media
  • SQL Server 2005 Developer Edition
  • Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition
  • Sql Server Developer Edition
  • Virtual PC 2007
  • Visual Basic 2005
  • Visual C++ 2005
  • Visual C# 2005
  • Visual J# 2005
  • Visual Web Developer 2005

We’re talking over $2,000 in free software, just for being a college student. We’re talking a huge gift to students, letting classes teach this stuff without software costs, lettings students develop software without these costs, and letting any student pick up some stuff to play around with without a monetary commitment.

Students will go to Microsoft’s Channel 8 site to download any of the software, following a third-party authentication process to verify they are a current student.

DreamSpark is live now at downloads.channel8.msdn.com