Massachusetts Officials to Vote on $123 Million Proposal to Require Student Laptops
M assachusetts state colleges soon may join a handful of public campuses requiring that students buy and use their own laptops.
The initial three-year plan, which would require state funding, includes $54 million that would go toward discounts and toward full and partial vouchers for low-income students to purchase computers.
Another $27 million would be used for training more faculty to teach with technology, and the other $42 million would pay for facilities, equipment and academic programs.
After the first three years, the plan would cost $61.8 million a year to underwrite the purchase of 25,000 computers, and provide laptop vouchers to about 18,000 students.
A spokesman for Gov. Paul Cellucci’s budget office says state leaders had not
decided whether public funds should go
toward laptops for college students.
Before any requests are funded, state officials would want the computer industry to
offer “consultation, time and money” for the plan, according to Cellucci’s office.
Jack Warner, vice chancellor of the Board of Higher Education, says that about 70
percent of students at four-year colleges now have their own computers and that the
proportion is smaller at community colleges.The laptop proposal grew out of
concerns that too few graduates of state colleges have the technological skills to fill tens of thousands of business and high-tech job openings in Massachusetts.
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