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Free Laptops Provide a Lifeline to Distance Learning for Incoming SUNY EOP Freshmen

Student laptop donation table at SUNY Purchase.

Thanks to the efforts of the SUNY Impact Foundation and a generous donor, the incoming class of Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) first-year students will have the technology they need to complete their coursework at home. The benefactor, who prefers to remain anonymous, provided the funding for the Office of Opportunity Programs to purchase more than 2,800 DELL laptops – one for every admitted student participating in the 2020 EOP pre-freshman summer program.

With the shift to online-remote learning forced by COVID-19, personal computers have become an essential tool for students to effectively engage in their studies at home. However, access to the needed technology can be problematic for students who come from low-income households who don’t own a laptop or who have to share a device with siblings or other family members.

“These laptops provide a lifeline to distance learning for our students,” said Associate Provost and Office of Opportunity Programs Director Cheryl Hamilton. “We want to thank the donor for taking some of the financial pressure off our EOP freshmen and their families during this challenging time.”

Laptop boxes on a table outside of SUNY Plaza.

Laptop boxes sit on a table outside of SUNY Plaza waiting for student hand-off.

Students began picking up their laptops last week at distribution sites set up at the SUNY Global Center in Manhattan, the H. Carl McCall SUNY Building in Albany and at seven SUNY campuses across the state. Though their expressions were hidden by their protective facemasks, students shared their excitement about joining the SUNY EOP family and their sincere appreciation for this generous gift.

Recipients are required to sign a laptop agreement that allows them to keep their laptops as long as they continue to study at a SUNY institution through the completion of their degree.

The Educational Opportunity Program has promoted the success of underserved populations for more than 50 years. The program provides access, academic support, counseling and modest financial aid to students who show promise for succeeding at a SUNY college but who may not have otherwise been offered admission. It supports students throughout their college careers within the University.

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    Written by Big Ideas

    Big Ideas is the Blog of The State University of New York, published by the Office of New Media.

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