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Laptop Initiative

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Department Laptop Initiative

The Eastern Illinois University Department of Journalism requires all entering freshmen and transfer students who are journalism majors to purchase a laptop computer. While we prefer that students purchase an Apple MacIntosh laptop, we provide specifications for a comparable Windows laptop as described below. Our surveys show that more than 90 percent of our students own their own computer. With this requirement, we’re attempting to assist students in getting the computer that best serves their academic and professional needs.

Why a laptop requirement? The EIU Journalism Department is dedicated to maintaining its position as a leader in educating tomorrow’s journalists. Journalists need to be able to report, write, photograph, shoot and edit video and adapt content for a variety of media and applications. Our goal is to graduate the most prepared, most experienced, most talented journalists possible. To support this initiative, the department has spent thousands of dollars in recent years to provide students with digital still cameras, video cameras, digital audio recorders and specialized software for use by students with their laptops. The department has hired additional faculty in new media and broadcasting to support our offerings. The university is in the process of upgrading the campus wireless network and other infrastructures to further support the laptop initiative. The university also provides on-campus support and repair specialists.

The laptop you purchase will be used to work on assignments and projects in classes, in the field and in your residence hall or apartment. You’ll always have the hardware and software at your fingertips.

Can I get financial aid assistance to purchase the laptop? The Higher Education Amendments of 1998 allow for the purchase of a personal computer to be added to a student’s educational expense budget that is used to determine financial aid eligibility. A budget increase does not necessarily result in additional financial aid to cover the cost. Students who have borrowed their annual or aggregate loan limits may not have eligibility remaining. Please contact the EIU Office of Financial Aid for further information at 217-581-6405.

What are my purchasing options? The EIU Journalism Department has functioned in an all-Mac environment for more than 20 years. Therefore, we prefer that students purchase one of the following computers:

•13-inch MacBook Pro (2.5 GHz or 2.9 GHz)
•15-inch MacBook Pro (2.3 GHz or 2.6GHz)

The “right” purchase depends on your pocketbook and how much processing power you’ll need. We recommend you also purchase the three-year AppleCare Protection Plan; it provides for on-campus repairs at no charge. Visit the EIU bookstore or call 217-581-7234. Be sure to mention that you are a journalism major.

As for software, we recommend you purchase an on-going membership with Adobe Creative Cloud. A two-year, $30-a-month contract ($720) lets you download and install any of the Adobe Creative Suite 6 software, and you get all updates free of charge. As a journalism major you’ll be using Photoshop, InDesign, Acrobat X Pro and Premiere Pro on a regular basis. You’ll also use Dreamweaver on occasion. If you purchased these software products separately the cost would be over $800 with no upgrades.

You can get more information about Creative Cloud or purchase a membership at http://www.adobe.com/products/creativecloud.edu.html?promoid=JQPEQ

As a Windows alternative we recommend a 14-inch Toshiba Tecra R840-S8432 laptop. The Adobe Creative Cloud membership provides the same software for the Windows operating system.


If you have other questions, please contact the EIU Journalism Department at 217-581-6003 or by e-mail at journal@eiu.edu.