University offers free laptops to students with limited resources. There's now a waitlist.
With many universities across the country moving their classes to an online format, access to university resources like computer labs has been virtually eliminated and some students have less access to the necessary resources at home than others.
In order to mitigate this reality, the University of Tennessee offered laptops to its students who don’t have access to a computer at home.
“Some students do not have personal computers or access to a reliable high-speed internet connection,” Owen Driskill, assistant director of news and information at UT told Campus Reform. “Providing the technology necessary to make the move to online is critical for our students to succeed in an online learning environment.”
Students were instructed to fill out an online form if they needed a laptop to use at home. It's not clear whether there were requirements for students to qualify to receive a laptop, or what those requirements may be.
So many students have now requested the devices that there is a waitlist.
The school had reportedly ordered 200 laptops, along with 215 hotspots, and placed a second order soon after. Now, the university has alerted students that the nature of the coronavirus crisis itself has become a factor in how soon students might receive the equipment.
"Because of demands on the supply chain, we have limited laptops and hotspots available on hand," the university announced.
"We will continue to receive supplies in the coming days and weeks and will process applications in the order they are received." Students are encouraged to still submit applications and wait for an email update when their computers are available.
The university also asks students to return their laptops in excellent condition and according to Driskill, students using the laptops will not see their tuition or fees impacted. UT will announce a later date when students can return their equipment
The laptops will come with additional resources that students can request, such as WiFi hotspots and will also be pre-loaded with programs such as Microsoft Word and Zoom.
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