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Seton Hill to Offer iPads to Full-Time Students

Seton Hill University, a liberal-arts institution in Pennsylvania with more than 2,100 students, announced a program on Tuesday that offers an iPad to every full-time student.

Distribution will begin in the fall. Incoming freshmen will also receive a 13-inch MacBook laptop, which Seton Hill will replaced after two years; current sophomores, juniors, and seniors can opt into that program.

The iPad distribution marks the beginning of the university’s Griffin Technology Advantage program, which will also include a completely wireless campus, quadrupled bandwith, and faculty training in advanced technologies. Students will be charged an additional $500 per semester in fees for the new technology program, and the university says it has absorbed the cost of the iPads.

“The iPad will lighten the backpacks of Seton Hill University students,” said JoAnne W. Boyle, president of Seton Hill University,  in an e-mail message to The Chronicle.

When Apple announced the debut of the iPad in January, some major publishers began hoping the new technology could boost electronic-textbook sales. Seton Hill says the iPad will let students create work and share it with other students and faculty members. The iPad will also let students download books to the iPad from the iBookstore.

“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,” said Mary Ann Gawelek, provost and dean of the faculty at Seton Hill, in an e-mail message to The Chronicle.

Seton Hill isn’t the first institution to offer electronic devices to incoming students. George Fox University recently announced it would offer incoming freshmen a choice between the iPad and the Apple MacBook, which it already offers; cost is included in tuition. From 2004 to 2006, Duke University gave iPods to incoming freshmen and eventually to students taking courses that used the music. It was one of several universities to give away iPods since the device launched in 2001. Other institutions have offered iPhones or laptop computers (or sometimes both).

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