Looks like Painter 2015 can be had on Amazon for 99$ if you buy the education edition. Does anyone know the limits the education edition has? I believe the last time I had that version it was 10 and I didn't see much I was lacking or needed.
They're for students, and it's not a commercial license, you can't make money from your work.
Many software companies do this, with some you'll have to prove you're a student, with some not. And you're not granted a license to use the product for commercial purposes, meaning you can't write off this program through your company nor can there be any commercial ties to your work.
The programs should be the same though, so if you don't sell your work and are a student, you can use it. It's a blurry line though, because it's not hard for people to claim they're a student when they're not, there's ambiguity, nor is it hard to get a student license through someone, so some people take advantage of that offer while they're not a student at all. The theory about how this works is probably very different from the reality, lots of people who use student software are not students.
Lots of people I know who are good at design did so through hacked software, since they were brought up rather poorly, but the companies know this happens, the alternative for many is either hacked software or no software at all. But now there's student version, so those people who want to learn software and are not part of a company or are not making money through their work, now get a legitimate way to learn their software, which I think is awesome.
I haven't read the conditions but often with other software, employees at educational establishments are entitled to the Education edition too. You will need proof of course.
The other restriction is that there is no upgrade path. If you buy Painter 2015 with an educational license and want the next version then you need to buy a new educational license for the full version again.