iPads for all incoming students at Seton Hill University this fall

Seton Hill University gives all news students an iPad and MacbookHow would you like it if your university decided to give a brand new Apple iPad to every student enrolled for fall 2010? That's exactly what Seton Hill University is doing later this year, and not only will students receive an iPad; but also a 13" Macbook to use for classwork and entertainment.

The iPads will be distributed to all 2,100 incoming and existing undergraduate, graduate and Adult Degree Completion students when they arrive on the Greensburg, PA campus this fall -- and without an increase in tuition -- which is $13,16 per semester.

According to a Kary Coleman, Director of Media Relations and Communication at Seton Hill, the University has absorbed the cost of the iPads and it is not related to an increase in the student technology fee which covers the wireless campus, recently quadrupled bandwidth, an on-campus Apple Certified Service center, and more.

As part of the recently-launched Griffin Technology Advantage program, students will receive a new Apple notebook their junior year, which is theirs to take out into the workforce. Freshmen at Seton Hill will pay a $500 technology fee this fall, which includes the 13" Macbook. Upperclassmen only pay $300, but can join the Macbook program for an additional $200 fee. The Griffin Technology program is named after Seton Hill's Mascot, and is not affiliated with the the well-known tech company Griffin Technology.

The University is banking on the fact that the iPad will increase the use of e-textbooks in the classroom, by making it easier for professors to assign them and for all parties to use the digital books. "The iPad initiative compliments a training program for Seton Hill University's faculty so students will be able to use the iPad for learning." said Mary Ann Gawelek, provost and dean of faculty at Seton Hill University in an email to WalletPop. Gawelek further explained the decision stating, "The iPad was chosen by Seton Hill because of its mobility and the ease with which faculty and students, in the future, will have immediate access to e-textbooks and comprehensive and integrated learning."

Unsurprisingly the overall response to the iPad announcement has been positive with the university reporting that students are excited about the addition of new Apple products to campus. "We have something tangible as a result of our technology fee. We will have a MacBook. We will have an iPad. We will have Wi-Fi. Seton Hill is so progressive and this is a wonderful opportunity," said Katie Fritsch, junior, graphic design major who is also president of the student government.

It makes sense for a University to look for a standard platform for delivery e-textbooks and it reminds us of the Kindle DX initiative that was launched at several Universities this past fall. It is easy to write this off as a ploy to get students to enroll, like the free ThinkPad I was offered by one university years ago; but with a rumored 4 textbook manufacturers, access to high quality online content like Scitable and faculty support Seton Hill could make the case for iPads in the classroom. Anyone enrolling?
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