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University benefits from partnership with school district
Education Week reports that a partnership between Clark University (Mass.) and a local school district is reaping myriad benefits. Clark houses the University Park Campus School for students in the low-income Worcester School District. The arrangement has allowed grade-school students on the Clark campus to study with Clark tutors, take special classes with Clark professors, and sometimes eat lunch in the Clark cafeteria.

University and government officials agree that such partnerships allow universities to encourage minority enrollment without relying on racial preferences. At Clark's Campus School, students who live in a designated low-income area of the community and meet the university's admission requirements receive free tuition when they are ready to attend college.

(Sources: Education Week, 1/28/98; USA Ed.Net Briefs, 2/9/98.

Colleges facing student computer quandaries
Desktops or laptops? That's one of the difficult questions that growing pressure for student access to computers is forcing institutions to face, reports Communications of the ACM, a monthly computer science and technology magazine. In addition to deciding what type of computers to provide, institutions must decide which brand of computers to buy, and how to pay for them.

What to use: While desktop computers are seen as better value for the dollar and more secure than laptops, most colleges have chosen the latter because of their size and portability. Of the 21 institutions known to have implemented campus-wide computer programs, 15 use laptops, three use desktops, and three give students a choice of one or the other.

Whom to buy from: Apple Computer was an early leader in providing computer equipment to campuses, and many institutions still use them. However, Compaq, Texas Instruments, Toshiba, and Zenith laptop models have gained in popularity. IBM has also added momentum to the laptop movement.

How to pay: Some schools, usually the larger institutions, ask students to purchase their own computers to avoid problems of distribution and maintenance. Other campuses have raised tuition to pay for student computers. An emerging trend is for institutions to charge a technology fee, which spreads the cost of a computer over four years. That option has proven popular among students and their families, despite the public's concern about rising education costs.

(Source: Communications of the ACM, 1/98.

Reprinted from CASE Flash Points