it might, depends on what you're looking to get out of it and put into it. You can really get a small highly customized image, but it will take time and a lot of testing on your part. You're probably better off getting a copy of the Windows Embedded 2010 preview that is based on Win7 since the development effort is a lot smaller compared to XPe.
I think the academic version of XPe still has the image expiration on it, so check to make sure. Typically 90-180 days.