Coronavirus makes Bowdoin College provide iPads for students, staff

Maine-based college is shelling out cash to ensure all enrolled students can learn online during COVID-19

Bowdoin College, a private liberal arts institution located in Brunswick, Maine, has committed to supplying its students with iPad Pros while the number of coronavirus cases continue to rise in the United States.

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Online classes are scheduled to take place during the fall semester, which begins Sept. 2, according to the school’s academic calendar. The iPads will be “fully equipped” with Wi-Fi and cellular data connectivity, so students will be able to complete their coursework from a safe distance, the college’s news announcement explained.

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Depending on which iPad Pro configuration the school has purchased, the cost can range between $949 and $1,649 per student – not including tax or AppleCare+ coverage.

An Apple Pencil 2 ($119), and Apple Magic Keyboard ($279 to $329), will also be included.

Although, it is possible for the college to be enrolled in Apple’s education institution discount program, which may bring down the cost.

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“This really levels the playing field for the students for whom internet access has been unreliable or non-existent,” said Bowdoin College’s senior vice president and chief information officer Michael Cato. “This is one example of how Bowdoin can really step into doing online learning well for the fall.”

He added that the College’s faculty-led Continuity in Teaching and Learning Group selected the iPad Pro because it provides a laptop-like experience while allowing for free movement with its built-in cellular capabilities.

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Faculty and staff who are teaching online, on the other hand, will receive Wi-Fi only iPads that can connect to the internet when in range of a network.

Bowdoin College had 1,835 enrolled students and 229 faculty members, according to fall 2019 records.

The iPads will be able to run all of the college’s licensed programs and students who need assistance in attaining reliable internet service will be helped by Bowdoin.

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Upon graduation, students will be asked to return their iPad. However, they will be able to retain their device if they still need it. The cost to keep the iPad is $1 at this time.

This iPad program comes at a time when colleges and universities are trying to come up with solutions to maintain enrollment numbers and ease the burden of online learning challenges.

In a similar fashion, Southwestern College announced it was giving away 200 computers to students in need back in April. Meanwhile, other institutions are slashing tuition costs since students won’t be on campus while there is a pandemic.

CORONAVIRUS IS CHANGING THE COLLEGE ADMISSIONS PROCESS, ESPECIALLY FOR ELITE SCHOOLS