Looks like Opera is offering free licenses to educational institutions [opera.com]. That sounds like a step in the right direction for them. Opera certainly could use some good PR in the midst of all the FireFox frenzy.
The Opera browser is fully customizable depending on each school's particular needs. For example, a university can use its school colors and mascot in the design of the browser's buttons, backgrounds and borders comprising the user interface. The Opera browser also features a communication banner where the school can insert news or other announcements for its students. This feature can be used as a line of communication between the school and its students.
Pretty sweet stuff there. I guess the "communication banner" is the same as the "ad banners" you get from the free version.