Haleigh Boutin’s need for a new laptop was as sudden as it was unexpected. The senior journalism major had always had problems with her old Dell Inspiron 300M, but she was completely taken by surprise when it starting smoking.
While her laptop didn’t catch fire like some of the Dell models in the 2006 battery recall, her computer was left beyond repair.
“This was an aftermarket battery,” Boutin said. “It wasn’t supposed to do it but it still did it.”
Afterwards, Boutin soon found herself with a new MacBook. She lucked out with a previous year’s model at CompUSA for around $600.
“I felt like I’d have better luck with one because the PCs tend to break too much,” she said.
When most Temple students buy new computers, their needs aren’t as dire. For students looking for the newest computers at reasonable prices, Temple often steps in to give them a helping hand. Often, the most difficult part is knowing where to buy computers at discounted prices.
The university strives to save students money with a variety of programs. The vendor discount program seeks to reduce costs by offering software and computers at discounted prices. The university also has three separate laptop-borrowing programs that are convenient to use for students who can’t purchase a laptop or don’t want to bring theirs to school.
Through the Computer Services Web site, students can find direct links to computer manufacturers’ Web sites. As of now, the list of manufacturers is small. Apple, Dell and Gateway are the only companies listed. But Donna Schweibenz, assistant director of Computer Business Services, promises more direct vendor links are on the way.
“We currently have discounted programs set up with the major manufacturers,” Schweibenz said. “With HP, Apple, Gateway, Dell, Lenovo [formerly IBM]. What we’re doing now is setting sites with third-party vendors to make it one-stop shopping.”
According to the assistant director, the manufacturers-direct program has been in place for about three years and has seen a lot of growth.
“We’ve noticed that a lot of students are purchasing Dells and Apples,” she said. “There was an ordinate increase in Apple purchases this year.”
Justin Myers, a senior architecture major, is one of many students who decided to buy from Apple.
“I got a student discount through Apple,” he said. “You do need to show validation of a roster or an ID.”
Freshman biology major Brandi Blank also bought directly from Apple.
“I got my laptop through Mac,” she said. “It was a little cheaper than if I hadn’t used it.”
On the software side of the vendor discount program, students can once again use the Computer Services Web site to find resellers. Journey Ed, CDW-G, GovConnection, Software House International and Academic Superstore are just a few of the software vendors that offer student discounts.
“Through our Adobe and our Microsoft contracts, we set it up for students to do direct purchasing with the reseller,” said William Felice, Computer Business Services information technology contracts administrator. “In other words, they don’t come to Computer Business Services to do the purchasing, but are going direct to the vendor’s Web site.”
Unlike the discounted computer purchases, which only range from about 20 percent to 40 percent, software discounts are usually much higher, up to 80 percent in some cases.
“Microsoft Professional Office Edition typically sells for $599,” Felice said. “We’re able to get that for students at a price of $85. Educational discounts in general are very good, they’re usually more than 50 percent off what a corporation would pay.”
In addition to getting the discounted laptop from Apple, Myers also bought discounted software.
“That process is real rigorous because they make you send a copy of your ID and also your roster,” he said.
For students who’d rather not deal with purchasing computers or software, there are still the various laptop- borrowing programs around campus. The TECH Center, Tuttleman Learning Center and the Math and Science Resource Center all offer students laptops to use for a few hours or days.
“It’s very convenient. I’m glad that they have that program here,” advertising junior Joseph Harvey said, referring to the Tuttleman laptop borrowing program. “Myself, like many students, have a hard time buying their own laptops,”
The laptop loaning program located in Tuttleman is the oldest of the three.
“It started in Paley, sometime in the late ’90s,” said Eric Jeitner, the director of the laptop-borrowing office in Tuttleman. The program currently offers 56 Dell computers to take out for two days at a time. After two days, students must return the laptops and wait 30 minutes before checking one out again.
“The only program that lends out overnight on campus is ours,” Jeitner said.
The TECH Center’s laptop-borrowing program got its start when the center opened in January 2006. Students can borrow laptops for up to three hours at a time and take them anywhere on campus. The TECH Center offers 100 laptops, and students can choose between Dell and Apple. Laptops are in high demand at the TECH Center, but there are plans to expand the program in the future.
“The whole TECH Center was built with the idea of expansion in mind,” said senior tech support specialist Marc Armando. “I’m sure as time goes on and they really get used we will probably expand.”
Olivia Deiz, a junior biology major, owns a laptop of her own, but prefers to borrow one from the MSRC instead.
“It’s really great especially for physics,” Deiz said. “You can just type in your homework and that’s it. It’s really convenient, I hate bringing my laptop around.”
The newest laptop borrowing program in the MSRC is a smaller satellite program that started in spring 2007. For an hour and a half, students can check out one of the 15 Dell laptops to use only in the MSRC. Mona Zaoudeh, director of the MSRC summed up the goal of the program.
“Why not use a configured computer here to do exactly what you need without having to worry about it all day?” she said. “We want to give them as many resources as possible to complete their work with our assistance along the way.”
Angela Moseley can be reached at email@example.com.