Yes and no. The program has changed..
Freshman are not required to purchase the laptop outright anymore. However, all first-years will be getting the Drew laptop automatically next year. The cost of the laptop is now one component of a comprehensive technology fee which covers a range of technology services. The cost of the laptop is amortized over eight semesters. Students will have the option to buy-up to an upgrade model for a one-time fee.
This program ahould be much more attractive and cost-effective for students. By spreading the cost over 8 semesters and by phasing the cost in gradually the financial impact is lessened. The price point for the laptops we are purchasing has also been reduced. Finally, with the new structure of the program, NJ sales tax is no longer applicable which provides students additional savings. The technology fee is being phased in over four years starting at $62.50 per semester ($125/year) starting next year. Over the next four years it will increase to its full amount but will still be substantially less than what most students pay in textbooks each semester.
The essential features of the computer package will remain the same. Students will still receive a business-class notebook with a four year warranty that includes accidental damage coverage.
The large remaining portion of the technology fee revenue that is not going towards the financing of the computers will be put towards campus-wide technology improvements for all students. While the details of these are in various stages of development, what's on the table right now is:
- Wireless networking in the residence halls.
- Equipment to improve cellular coverage in residence halls.
- A virtual desktop solution for commuters. (Allowing off-campus students to remotely access software like SPSS that they cannot currently use unless on-campus).
The admissions office, University Technology, the finance office, and faculty worked to put this together very rapidly so that we would have a good technology program next year that was very affordable. The new admissions literature on this isn't live yet on the web site, but it should provide a better explanation of the new program than I have been able to in this post. We'll post a link here when that material is available..