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Getting Answers: saving on technology for your college student

While most colleges are already out for the summer, it may be time to get your students’ technology for next school year.
Published: May. 25, 2022 at 8:55 AM EDT|Updated: May. 26, 2022 at 8:45 AM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - While most colleges are already out for the summer, it may be time to get your students’ technology for next school year.

“Technology prices have gone up a lot, part of the hangover from COVID and the shutdown of the supply chains,” said Western New England University Associate Professor of Economics Karl Petrick.

With inflation rising and supply chain issues persisting, Petrick said it’s not too early to start thinking about buying a computer or tablet for your college student ahead of next school year.

“Keep your eyes open for good deals as they come up…Be very clear about what you need in your computer. Otherwise, you’re gonna get something that’s not good enough or way beyond what you need and way beyond what you need is going to be a lot more pricey,” Petrick explained.

Petrick told Western Mass News always price-compare online to make sure you’re getting the best deal and be wary of extended warranties, which could add hundreds of dollars to an already expensive purchase.

“I think the lifespan of technology is so short now, it’s not really worth getting that,” Petrick noted.

We also stopped by Yes Computers in Northampton to speak with the experts. Tech director Gary Russell-Smith said it will be a few months before some companies release their best deals.

“Apple usually announces their product specials over the summer, so we still have a little bit to wait until they can figure out what they can put on sale,” Russell-Smith said.

Russell-Smith added that some students may be better suited using a tablet or iPad, including English majors

“You will want a more effective reading surface such as a tablet. You will also want the keyboard accessory for that tablet,” Russell-Smith added.

Other students may need a little more power under the hood.

“Engineering, you definitely do need the computing power for,” Russell-Smith noted.

Check out a list of different tech products available for purchase. A Lenovo Ideapad currently sells for $380 and the latest iPad is listed at $429. Popular tablets, including the Microsoft Surface Pro and Google Chromebook, cost just under $600 and a 13-inch Macbook will set you back over $1,000.

  • Lenovo Ideapad with i3 processor: $379
  • 256GB iPad: $429
  • Google Chromebook: $599
  • Microsoft Surface Pro: $599
  • Macbook laptop: $1,299

Most colleges, such as Western New England University, offer a list of minimum requirements for student to make sure when you do invest in a new computer or tablet, you can be assured it’s up to standards.

Those minimum tech requirements for WNEU students include:

  • i3 processor
  • 8GB ram
  • 128GB hard drive
  • 5 Ghz Wifi cards

There are also plenty of resources for students who may not be able to afford a laptop, including 500-plus computers in labs across campus.

“We pride ourselves in offering the students all the technology that they’ll need to thrive in our environment,” said Scott Coopee, chief information officer at Western New England University.

For students that do arrive with technology, the university provides all the bells and whistles to make sure they’re up to speed.

“They have multiple licenses that they can download. They have a Zoom license, they have Microsoft licensing. They have Microsoft office that they can download on up to five devices,” Coopee added.

Russell-Smith said just don’t forget to account for the price of a case and other essential add-ons.

“A lot of people forget the accessories when they’re budgeting. For example, students will need extra cables in case they lose their power cord and need to charge their computer,” Russell-Smith said.