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Moravian College Will Market Itself as an All-Apple Campus

A college established in 1742 by a Protestant sect devoted to unity is turning to a new-age orthodoxy: It’s becoming an all-Apple campus.

Moravian College, located about an hour north of Philadelphia in Bethlehem, Pa., will provide each member of its 2014 freshman class with a new MacBook Pro and a new iPad. Faculty members will receive the same devices as their current machines come due for replacement.

Michael P. Wilson, director of public relations and marketing at Moravian, said the plan would be financed by increasing tuition. The exact figures are now being worked out, but Moravian’s new president, Bryon L. Grigsby, said the change should increase tuition by about $1,000.

A new 13-inch MacBook sells for $1,199, while a 16G iPad 3 costs $499. The college plans to buy in bulk for members of next year’s freshman class—about 400 students—as well as for the first wave of faculty members. The students will own the devices and will be able to take them out into the professional world after they graduate.

Mr. Grigsby helped carry out a similar all-Apple program at Shenandoah University, where he was senior vice president and vice president for academic affairs until earlier this year.

Undergraduate enrollment at Moravian is around 1,500, according to Mr. Wilson, who said the Apple program would also be available for transfer students. Moravian is trying to figure out how current students can “buy into” the program, he said, adding that they “will not see an increase in tuition” related to it. The college announced the plan now so it can be used in recruiting for the next year’s class, he said.

Kenneth C. Green, founder and director of the Campus Computing Project, a continuing study of the role of information technology in higher education, said that while some colleges have adopted technology requirements and standards in the past, the number has been small. He said Wake Forest University and Seton Hall University had seen positive outcomes with similar programs.

“Very few institutions require all students to have a computer,” he said. And most colleges, he said, have a bring-your-own-device policy. “Like shoes and clothes, it’s just part of what you do.”

Seton Hall’s chief information officer, Stephen Landry, said that if the point of the upgrade was to expand the use of technology and to engage students more actively, Moravian was taking the right step.

“Access to technology is a prerequisite to success,” he said.

Since Seton Hall created its Mobile Computing Program, in 1998, he said, the New Jersey college has experimented with tablets and found that students needed capabilities that most tablets did not offer, like word processors. Seton Hall now provides its students and faculty members with the Lenovo Helix, a dual laptop and tablet using the Windows operating system. The devices remain the university’s property and are updated every two years.

He said faculty members appreciate the ability to create lesson plans on the same devices their students use. “What they can do on their laptops,” he said, “they know the students can too.”

Mr. Grigsby, Moravian’s president, said MacBooks and iPads had been chosen because of their versatility and ability to be used once the students leave college. The iPads also allow students to move to an e-textbook format, he said.

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