When I purchased my academic version of Lightroom, it was a package set. Inside was a yellow card with the instructions on how to verify that I qualified for the academic discount. I submitted my academic e-mail address and other info as requested on that yellow card. Within 5 min. I received my serial number. Very straightforward. I had no problems whatsoever.
There is only one version of the Lightroom program itself. The only difference is in the licensing and pricing. If you qualify for the academic discount, by all means use it. You are purchasing the same Lightroom program that anyone else does. It doesn't expire, there are no missing features, and it can be upgraded when new major versions are released. Those upgrades will cost the same as they cost for any other person, regardless of how they purchased Lightroom.
You can confidently move ahead with obtaining your serial number. The only thing you are doing differently is paying a lower initial purchase price because of your academic status.
Your response was just what I was looking for! Thank you for your help. It is much appreciated! Can't wait to get it installed and start using it