what exactly do you mean? Are you talking about the difference between Maya PLE (Personal Learning Edition) and the commercial version of Maya?
Maya PLE is a special edition of Maya for personal learning use, which:
- uses a different file format (you cannot read in PLE files in regular Maya)
- displays watermarks in the render
- lacks some speed optimisations and functions that you do find in commercial versions.
There is also an educational licensing scheme for Maya, which allows you to get the commercial version for a fraction of the full price, but you need to prove valid student id in order to get it, and you cannot use it in commercial productions.