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Virtual Machine resource available?

I'm setting up a course to teach Debian Administration for UCSD-Extension.
It would be nice to avoid using i386 for all the classwork and demos;
does anyone know of an institution that could provide one or more virtual
machine sessions (i.e. Debian installations where I can have root access)?

Separately to that, does any of the virtual machine service providers have
a plan where individual students could rent a personal VM for three months
(the course runs for nine weeks, plus a few weeks for marking and the like).
Assuming the plan is reasonably priced and has educational restrictions,
it'd be great if students could upgrade to personal or commercial plans
at the end of the course ... once they like what they're making use of.

The alternatives are to buy an i386 family computer, from $500 desktop
to under $1k laptop, or a powerpc family, about $500 for a mac mini,
or an arm family, about $200 for a manga, or do the course without.


PS.  Course would be starting in the autumn term (about four months off).

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