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Dylan Buell/dbuell@state-journal.com A statue of Whitney M. Young, Jr. looks over the west end of Kentucky State's campus.

Kentucky State University will give every first-time and full-time freshman a new laptop computer starting with the fall semester. 

Each freshman will get a Dell Latitude laptop with programs such as Windows 10 OS, Microsoft Office and anti-virus protection at no charge. These students will also have access to assistance from Dell and KSU’s information technology office, said a press release published on Thursday. 

The initiative is part of the university’s Quality Enhancement Plan, which aims to equip every student with technology and professional skills, according to the press release. 

KSU President M. Christopher Brown II said in the press release that faculty reported many students were using cellphones to retrieve assignments and other digital resources. KSU provides students with digital textbooks at no cost to the students and some studies show that downloading textbooks to cell phones rather than something larger like a computer or tablet can hinder student achievement, the release said. 

“Providing first-time, full-time students with technology is a proven comprehensive approach toward increasing student academic achievement and improving faculty-student relationships. Additionally, the pervasive use of digital tools in K-12 settings must be continued at the collegiate level in order to cement technological proficiency and millennial problem-solving expectations,” Brown said via the press release. “Our laptop initiative is one of several interventions being employed to accelerate academic outcomes at Kentucky State.”

Students will be responsible for the safeguarding of laptops, the release said. The devices will have a four-year warranty and students must notify KSU’s IT department as soon as possible with concerns about loss, theft, damage or malfunction of laptops. Once students complete course and degree requirements for graduation, they will receive a title transfer of ownership of their laptop. 

A new laptop isn’t the only change for incoming KSU freshmen. The university announced earlier this month that out-of-state students’ tuition will be reduced beginning this fall from roughly $9,500 to $5,775. 

Current KSU students who have Thorobred Promise, or a four-year tuition guarantee, will have their guarantee adjusted to reflect lower tuition levels. The change is part of a memorandum of agreement with Kentucky Council on Post Secondary Education that the Board of Regents approved during its June 6 meeting.

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