Every semester, I try to bring this up in my classes. Microsoft has made available a number of programs available at a low cost for students.
For example, the Microsoft Office 2007 Home Edition would cost you around $125 - $150 to purchase. This would include Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. However, as a student at certain schools, you are eligible to receive a copy of Office 2007 "Ultimate" for $59.95. This version includes not only the programs listed above, but also Access and Publisher. The nice part is that this is not only inexpensive, but also legal. I can understand why people take a risk and download illegal software, but when you have the chance to legally acquire the software at this price, why take the risk?
They also have made available Windows 7 for $64.95.
Note you will have to register with your school email address (email@example.com). Also note that they don't mail you an installation CD - the install is done through the Internet.
Note that even though this is not a Microsoft.com site, it does redirect there and I can confirm this is legitimate.