Ohio State University no longer gives iPads to new students

iPads have become heavily used tools in all levels of education in recent years. Many schools have programs providing these devices for students, including colleges and universities. We’ve previously reported on Bowdoin College providing MacBook Pros in addition to iPads to students. 

Designed to ensure each student has the tools they need to succeed in classes, these programs aim to lessen digital inequities among students. 

However, those programs don’t continue forever. The Ohio State University has announced this week that it will no longer distribute iPads to new students in the fall. Previously, the Columbus-based institution would give each first-year student an iPad to keep until graduation. Students who currently have an iPad as part of this program are allowed to keep them.

Instead, the OSU Digital Flagship program will revamp itself and provide an on-demand iPad borrowing service for students on an as-needed basis. It’s also starting a refurbishing program to “extend the life of [its] existing devices to support more students.”

Additionally, as part of the program refresh, the University will provide all undergraduate, graduate, and professional students Adobe Creative Cloud access. Provost Melissa Gilliam wrote in a university-wide email how the new approach will change digital equity on campus. “This new approach will enable [OSU] to focus on technology access and skill building…in a more sustainable way.” 

While it appears the institutions with these programs are ones with higher tuition, more may need to rework their programs. It seems not as many OSU students needed the program as the school originally thought.

Will we see more schools reevaluate their own device distribution programs in the future?

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