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EDUCATION / Reading and the classroom: Issues, people
and trends | IN BRIEF

Massachusetts May Require Laptops

October 22, 2000|From Times staff and wire reports

BOSTON — State education leaders endorsed a plan last week that would make Massachusetts the first state to require full-time public college students to own laptop computers.

The Board of Higher Education approved the policy as part of a $123-million program aimed at wedding high-tech skills to higher education and giving the poor better access to technology.

The proposal requires legislative approval.

Several schools in the country already require computer ownership, including the University of Florida, Ohio University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. But Massachusetts would be the first state to make laptop ownership a systemwide requirement.

There are 176,000 students in the state's university system, full and part time. About 70% of students at four-year colleges now have their own computers, board Vice Chancellor Jack Warner said.

The plan would provide $54 million for laptop purchases, vouchers and loans for low-income students, plus $69 million for faculty training, facilities, equipment and other items.

Grace Carolyn-Brown, president of Roxbury Community College, said the plan would give the poor greater access to high-tech tools. She said the school's computer facilities are always packed, reflecting the students' restricted access to computers.

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