.EDU backlinks are/were known to give SEO benefits.
The answer is yes. And here is why:
Getting a .EDU domain still has a very daunting "approval" process.
And most importantly, it's hard to cheat. Whenever the .EDU domain is granted, it proves that the entity qualifies as an official and valid educational institution.
Search Engines give me credit and power to back links coming from .EDU for that particular reasons.
You are receiving a vote from a verifiable authority on its field.
BUT, not all links are equal
The main venues to earn a backlink from a .EDU domain are:
.EDU is no exception.
For the institution to accept giving you a backlink, whatever you propose needs to give "value" to them.
And for backlinks to work, they need to be used in the right context, without any obvious signs of overdoing/trying to control it.
There is a huge difference in quality, search engines consideration, and results from: