It's possible. I've picked up programs from University stores for good prices in the past. I once bought a copy of Corel WordPerfect Suite 9 from a place like this for $40.00.
The "academic" part just means that it is meant to be sold to students, and not retail in a regular store, like Wal-Mart.
Why don't you give your friend the money and let him get you a copy? That's the easiest way to find out if he's full of it or not! LOL!
<font color=red>My Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=6847" target="_new">http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=6847</A>
<font color=purple>"Procrastination on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part."</font color=purple>