Hi CHRIS mechsner,
About your first question: You can achieve this using the default membership/role providers. The new global permission "CMS Access" gives you the ability not to let users enter the admin section at all. For example, you can create a role called "Students" and deny this permission, thus users in this role won't be able to enter the admin part. However, you can manage their access to pages by denying anonymous access and giving the "Students" the page permission "View".
So far you have
1. anonymous users who don't have any access except for the common pages.
2. logged in users that are in "Students" and have access to particular pages, but don't have access for the cms.
3. admins that have the "CMS Access" permission and can access the cms.
You can use either your custom login controls, or the shipped with Sitefinity login controls to create a login or profile page, etc. If I was not clear enough or you have any problems, a similar scenario is used in the TIU site for forum users.
About your second post: What Bob meant by "completely separate" is that you can select different membership and role providers for completely different data sources, for example, two separate sql databases, and manage them with Sitefinity. For instance, you can have a smaller db with less than 50 users that manage your cms (create pages, manage modules etc. ) and a larger db with thousands of users (who post forum comments etc.). Then in the web.config you define the two couples membership/role provider and that is all you have to do.
This way in the Sitefinity administration section you'll see a drop down menu that lets you select the membership/role providers you use. You can use the same functionality (create roles , give permissions etc. ) for both databases. This gives you the ability to have roles like: administrators, publishers, content writers, in the database with users for administration and another set of roles like: forum posters, polls users, etc in the large database with public users.
For editing/viewing the profile of your students, you can use the ManageProfile control from Telerik.Security.WebControls, it is available in the control toolbox.
the Telerik team