I studied and thought both.
Blender has many good aspects but has a very limited render engine which can render non realistic styles well but has no ability to even compete with realistic results coming from VRay, MentalRay.
Now the most important question you need to ask yourself is where should your students be when they are graduating.
Those short-commings are in my point of view the biggest bottle neck of Blender and a no go for a company / designer who needs realistic work.
Blender might have here and there a good competition or a cutting edge but in the overall great scheme I came to the conclusion that it is not suitable to be used as a main tool for teaching CG when you aim are to bring your students into high ranking animation jobs.
Blender has in contrast to Maya a very good compositing system.
So in case you do not have AE or any other compositing system you could teach your students about this area with Blender.
Mesh modeling in Blender is going in my opinion faster than in Maya.
Via OBJ the unwrapped and UV textured mesh can easily be exported.
This could also be quite nice when using fluids and bringing that over into Maya.
Few students used Blender for modeling but did the animation then in Maya since it offers more possibilities and studios like BlueSky or others don’t really care about Blender.
Sculpting in Blender is also a nice thing, when you do not have access to mudbox or zbrush, but it is not the same. You cannot reach the same fine resolution, however this might change with the current unlimited clay branch.
Also to keep in mind Blender CAN bake normal maps and you can retopo / rescult a low res version which again you can bring into Maya for animation and rendering.
I would simply use Maya as the main foundation and utilize Blender as an additional software which can add parts to the workflow difficult or not possible with Maya. At the end software diversity and understanding the concepts will be very valuable to the students.
At the end it all depends on the outcome and the need.
Blender can serve many aspects and does not make a commercial software needed.
Specific other areas like photo-realistic rendering etc a commercial software is just required and Blender cannot do it.
I used Blender personally on many interactive projects from jewelry design, product design, to augmented reality design. But I just used parts of it that fit my need and used other software for other needs they were better for.
Plus since 2.5 is reaching it’s finale stage exporter to GI engines pop up now which renders Blender to be a kick-butt foundation. You cannot animate with it as freely as with Maya - but if that is not a need/concern, than Blender is awesome for providing 3d content and rendering it out into OSS engines or commercial such as VRAY.