The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


Chatham University considering ending laptop program for incoming students

Carson Gates
Student laptops with a range of various stickers displayed.

Chatham University is exploring the idea of cutting the program that provides computers to all incoming students as a cost-saving measure to decrease the University’s financial deficit. 

At this point in time, Chatham is preparing to end the program for incoming ’24 undergraduate students based on the analysis that was completed,” Vice President of Marketing and Communications Bill Campbell said in an email to the Communiqué. “However, the decision is not 100% final and ready for communication as the academic program analysis above needs to be completed to understand the last considerations from each academic area and the impact on students.

As for returning undergraduate students, the University is still planning to provide them with computers for the 2024-2025 school year but is looking into making modifications to the policy in the future.

In the fall ’24 semester, [returning undergraduate students] will be given options and details to decide whether to 1) stay in the laptop program, 2) buy out and own their machine or 3) return the laptop,” Campbell said in an email to the Communiqué. “If they return the laptop, they must bring an appropriate one or purchase one that fits their needs (and university requirements) in the 25-26 academic year. That personal laptop program decision would need to be made in the spring ’25 semester and take effect at the start of the following academic year. Leaving the laptop program would lower their technology fee in the 25-26 academic year.”

Sources tell the Communiqué that the University pays around $750,000 per class for laptops. Students currently pay a technology fee each semester at Chatham. For the 2023-24 academic year, the technology fee for full-time undergraduate students was $978 per person.

The Chatham University website states that “the technology fee is mandatory for all full-time undergraduate students and entitles each student to a laptop computer (must be returned if leave before graduating), laptop warranty, accidental damage protection, and a computer backpack. In addition, the fee helps fund Microsoft software licensing, Helpdesk support and repairs (7 days a week), and other campus technology investments and infrastructure.”

 “We are paying for having the laptops and having access to these technologies.” Aidan Bobik ‘24 said. “I don’t think it is an absurd thing to say that if you are going to eliminate this program, that that fee should be reduced.” 

The potential for the program to be cut has some faculty and students raising questions about what benefits could be lost for incoming students. 

I designed all my courses with this assumption that there is this baseline where all students are at in terms of what they have access to, and I structure my courses at that baseline,” Assistant Professor of Communications Ryan D’Souza said.

Without ensuring laptops for all incoming students, faculty will either be asked to reconsider how their courses utilize technology or risk students not having full access to the materials for class. Some students agree, acknowledging the access to classroom resources that laptops provide.

“Having a specific laptop that we know every student has, that all your classmates, that all your professors have, you have this whole ecosystem where you know what to have, so you know that if you are going to take a class, you are going to have the resources that you need,” Bobik said. “I think you will see a number of negative effects with getting rid of the program.”

Without university-issued laptops, students would still be required to find and provide their own. The University would be planning on issuing a hardware requirement for students to take courses that use laptops as part of its coursework. 

The potential decision also raises questions about how the University plans to maintain equitable access to technology for all students. 

I think the undergraduate student population, a significant number of them, are on some sort of academic aid or some sort of scholarship and the student population, actually, in the communication program, especially the arts, have come from rural parts of this region, come from lower-income and working-class families for whom such technologies are luxuries and not what we would consider a bare necessity,” D’Souza said. 

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About the Contributors
Bella White
Bella White, News Editor
Bella White ‘27 is a first year at Chatham studying Journalism with a minor in Creative Writing. Originally from north of Pittsburgh, Bella decided to come to Chatham to build on her passion for writing. Bella is a contributing writer for the Communiqué, where they primarily focus on news, lifestyle and the Chatham Student Government. In her free time, Bella enjoys conquering their To Be Read list, seeing musicals, learning new languages and taking naps. They can usually be found in a library or a bookstore with a good iced coffee. For inquiries about her work, Bella can be best reached at [email protected] or via Instagram
Carson Gates
Carson Gates, Editor in Chief
Carson Gates ’25 is a Communications major with a concentration in journalism. Carson is from the Buffalo, New York area, and chose Chatham University for its quiet and homey feel on campus, while also being smack dab in a major city. Carson is the editor-in-chief for the Communqiué, and when he writes, he writes primarily for the sports section but has been known to dabble in other areas as well. While being a writer, Carson is the host for the Communqiué podcast in the quad, the "Quadcast." Carson is also a goalie for Chatham's men's ice hockey team. Carson Gates can be reached best at [email protected] or via Instagram or Twitter @gatesy35.

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