Actually, I'm lying. There probably is no way for college or university students to get themselves just for being a student.
However, you can get pretty darned close. Turns out that DreamSpark, a Microsoft funded website specially designed for students undergoing higher eduction, is giving away free copies of select Microsoft software. Amongst this software is... Windows Server 2008 R2!
Not to be confused with it's close relative Windows Server 2008 (without the R2), which runs off mostly off Vista's code base, WS 2008 R2 is the fresh new server operating system from Microsoft based off the super-hyped, widely acclaimed Windows 7 which has been officially released to market barely a couple days ago. It's got all the good stuff. The leaner, faster core, the more distinctive, totally reworked and stunning UI, and all the other perks from Windows 7, in a addition to everything that usually comes with a Windows Server release: IIS, Active Directory, DNS, FTP and DHCP servers, and all that server jazz.
For some of us, this may be practical, because you know, home servers are the friggin' bomb. But for the rest of us, have a server OS is useless. So why should you bother getting this (I repeat) TOTALLY FREE version of WS2008 R2? Because at it's core, it's just as awesome as Windows 7, and with a little tweaking and research, you can make the watered-down service-centric OS that it is right back into a fully functional, kick-ass desktop OS. Heck, there's even a GUIDE on how to get your install of Server 2008 looking, feeling, and performing like the end-user Windows 7.
At first, I thought it was too good to be true. You know, those promotions usually just apply to US students that attend certain schools. Well not with this program: there are dozens and dozens of schools listed, even those from Canada and other countries!
Thanks to the homies over at Overclock.net for pointing this out. Grab your copy while you still can! You can expect an update on my own experience migrating from Vista to WS in the weeks to come.