The journalism department required that incoming students purchase an over $1,600 model of Macbook Pro, while last year’s freshmen received Macbook Air for free for one year.
Paul Niwa, assistant dean to the school of communication and former chair of the journalism department, sent an email out earlier this spring instructing all current freshmen journalism majors to purchase a MacBook Pro with particular specifications.
The required MacBook Pro model is equipped with a large storage capacity and powerful Thunderbolt 3 USB technology. With such specific requirements, the model freshmen journalism majors were told to buy is only available online.
According to the website provided by Niwa in the email, the laptop costs $1,629, plus an additional, and optional, about $270 for a three-year insurance plan.
“It cut into the money I had saved up for college,” freshman journalism major Jakob Menendez said. “I’m a Windows guy. I could have gotten the best Windows laptop for just as much money, or a Windows laptop of the same quality for about $1,200.”
Freshman journalism major Megan Ellis said she also feels the purchase of a MacBook Pro is a costly one.
“I thought [buying a MacBook Pro] was a bit ridiculous,” Ellis said. “I went to my dad to try to find a cheaper option because my family and I had no way of buying a laptop that expensive.”
Ellis bought a MacBook Pro for $800 rather than the original $1,629. However, after checking her laptop’s serial number with the Information Technology department, they told her it did not have the necessary Thunderbolt 3 technology, and she may have to buy a new one.
Last year, incoming journalism students were given MacBook Airs by the school and access to software such as Adobe Creative Cloud, Microsoft Office, and Final Cut Pro X for free. The college referred to this software and hardware package as the CreativityKit.
According to an email sent to incoming journalism majors last year, students would have to pay $250 per semester for the CreativityKit after the 2016-2017 school year. Information technology (IT) said this software averages $1,300 value per student.
“Students were coming in with 6-year-old laptops and that took a lot of time in the classroom to troubleshoot,” Niwa said. “There is an advantage to having everyone with the same laptop.”
After the first two years, journalism majors who received the CreativityKit last year were supposed to renew their MacBook Airs for a newer model. Administrators involved have not yet made a decision on whether or not rising junior journalism majors will buy the renewed laptop out of pocket.
Janet Kolodzy, chair of the journalism department, said the CreativityKit program will be well-served.
“Implementation had its bumps, there is no question about that, but the curricular experience due to having the CreativityKit, I have not heard anything but success on that,” Kolodzy said. “That, in my mind, is our number one priority.”