Here's my two cents, first, depending on what kind of computer you buy, it may already have a BASIC photo editing program installed... As Stan said, it will NOT come with Elements however. You are a student, no? If that is the case, you can get a student discount and get elements for far cheaper online than if you get it through the store. MUCH cheaper.
I would advise you go that route if you decide to get Elements...and YES, there is a Mac version of Elements as well, and it's the same price as the PC version. Again, no matter what kind of computer you buy, I advise you to go through Adobe, as a student you can get it for much less $$$.
As for the PC vs Mac debate, like many have said there are pros and cons to both PCs and Mac's and depending on who you talk to, they will tell you why they like each kind, depending on what they use.
I know many of the folks on here use PCs and love them.
As for me, I use a Mac and love it. And with a Mac you do get iLife, which has their iPhoto program already installed. In iPhoto, you can do some very basic photo editing including adjusting the crop, exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows, saturation, temperature, tint, sharpness and noise (the noise adjustment is basically worthless, I will admit.)
This program isn't quite as powerful as elements and it won't let you (for example) remove something from an image or blend two images together, but for basic RAW and JPEG image processing when you are just learning, it's a pretty nice little program. And it comes already installed on the computer, which is nice.
And again, you can also Elements for a Mac and the cool thing is, it will work with iPhoto, so if you start with iPhoto and then upgrade to Elements later, they can work together and you won't lose all the work you did in iPhoto. (This is what I did.)
Again, there are pros and cons to both kinds of computers. The con to the MAC- they are usually more expensive and you have to buy software from the Apple store or Best Buy because their software is harder to find.
Apple also does provide a student discount OR they have refurbished and/or last year's model computers that come with a complete warranty that can be purchased through their website. We have done this, and have been very happy.
Whatever you get, I am sure you will be happy in the end. Just make sure you look in to that student discount, I'd hate for you to pay extra money if you don't have to.