Undergraduate Studies loans qualified students computers

Robert Taylor

Qualified Kent State students are now able to get their hands on computer equipment that was not available to them last year.

Undergraduate Studies is now loaning 30 laptop computers and 20 Dell PCs to students participating in Upward Bound, Student Support Services, McNair Scholars, TRIO, GED Scholars, Gear Up and Ohio Board of Regents Stars Program, but first they must take a training class that makes them familiar with the technology.

The laptop computers are available to borrow for up to one week at a time, while students can borrow the desktops for an entire semester, LAN administrator Rose Tran said.

Once students are approved, they can go to the computer lab in room 213 of the Michael Schwartz Center to pick up a laptop.

“By giving out the laptops our intention is to provide access to the Internet and other technologies to students who wouldn’t have that kind of access normally,” said Diane Munson, assistant dean of Undergraduate Studies .

Tran wants to remind students that not everyone can check out the laptops.

“I’ve had several parents call me wanting to know if their son or daughter can check out a computer,” Tran said. “This isn’t the library and we can’t give them out to anyone who wants them, but hopefully in the future we’ll get some more funding and be able to help out even more students.”

The opportunity for students to borrow laptops came when The Beaumont Foundation of America awarded the university $63,250 worth of technological equipment last October, including a printer, projector, digital camera and the laptops. That donation was a part of the $11 million spent on almost 5,000 laptop computers donated to facilities across the country.

“This latest round of grants helps solidify the foundation’s dedication to the principle of digital inclusion,” said Frank Newton, Beaumont Foundation of America president. “We selected exceptional organizations with the knowledge they will join us in furthering the mission of providing access to technology and digital information to the underprivileged.”

“This is Beaumont’s first year giving such grants to higher education facilities like Kent,” Tran said. “And we are more than happy to be one of the universities chosen for their new initiative. This will be such a help to students who need to use the Internet or other programs.”

“We received the computers from the Beaumont Foundation during spring semester and made use of them all summer,” Munson said. “But this is the first full semester that these laptops will be always in use, and I can’t wait to see how much it helps students. We are tracking what the students are using the laptops for and how frequently they are checked out as well to ensure that we can help them out even more in the future with their specific needs.”

The initiative of students borrowing laptops for a short time sparked the idea to help out students who needed computer access for longer time periods and let students borrow desktops for an entire semester.

“We have a group of 20 desktop computers that we use in the summer months to set up temporary computer labs in the dorms,” Tran said. “During the academic year they were just sitting around and not being put to use, so we decided to let students borrow them for a semester and use them for their studies.”

Unlike the laptops, the 20 desktops are only available to students in the Upward Bound program.

“Upward Bound students, who can get a referral from (Undergraduate Studies) Dean Geraldine Hayes Nelson, will go through a training session much like the one students go through before borrowing the laptops,” Tran said. “From there they pick up a desktop and use it for the entire semester.”

Twelve of the 20 PCs have been taken for the semester. These desktops do not have a modem, though they do have Microsoft Office already installed on them.

Contact Undergraduate/Graduate Studies reporter Robert Taylor at [email protected].