You qualify for an academic account (core features) if you are affiliated with an academic institution. This means that you get the use of all core features for free and qualify for reduced rates on pro features . Check out our pricing section https://www.turkprime.com/Home/Pricing for more details.
If your login name is an email address for a .edu domain you will auto-qualify for the academic discount. If you are an academic from a different domain or an international user you can request academic stsats here: https://www.turkprime.com/Account/AcademicStatus
Please note that while all TurkPrime fees for using the TurkPrime.com site and its basic features are free, you will need to fund your Mechanical Turk account so that you can pay your Workers and Amazon MTurk for any of their related fees. Also, surveys that are run through Prime Panels will not be free, and will not qualify for reduced academic pricing.