Thanks to grant from Northwestern Mutual Foundation and a private gift from UW-Eau Claire alumnus Rick Schroder and his wife, Evelyn Zabo, ten information systems (IS) students now own their own laptop computers. Each student received $700 to purchase a laptop that meets College of Business computing requirements.
Beginning with the fall 2009 semester, students in more than 20 business classes must have in-class access to their own laptop computer. Persistent budget cuts forced the college to implement this cost-saving measure.
Because the Information Systems department is piloting the new technology requirement this spring, students enrolled in four IS courses must be ready to bring their portable computers to class in January, nine months before other business students are required to do so. This won’t be a problem for 80 percent of the college’s students who currently own or plan to purchase a laptop. But it was the remaining 20 percent that worried Dr. Thomas Hilton, IS department chair. Hilton was concerned that these students may not be financially able to satisfy the college’s laptop requirement. So he solicited funds from companies and private donors to establish a laptop relief fund to aid his department’s neediest students.
IS students seeking aid to purchase a laptop submitted a packet of information to the IS department scholarship committee that included a letter of application, transcript, résumé, and biographical essay highlighting character and leadership qualities and explaining financial need. The deadline for applications was January 2, 2009. Applications were reviewed by the committee, and award recipients were notified January 9, 2009.
The following IS students received IS laptop relief awards: Ben Anderson, a senior from White Bear Lake, MN; Kristin Bomber, a senior from Eau Claire, WI; Adam Burns, a senior from Cameron, WI; Donald Ehasz, a senior from Platteville, WI; Pierce Koch, a senior from Green Bay, WI; Ryan Lundy, a senior from Westfield, WI; James Paulus, a senior from Little Canada, MN; Daniel Steffeck, a senior from Wausau, WI; Cha Vang, a senior from Eau Claire, WI; and Keegan Walsh, a senior from Mauston, WI.
While Hilton helped ten IS students purchase a laptop, he knows there are other students in the college who still need similar assistance. He plans to continue offering the laptop relief scholarship to IS students, but he recommends that all needy business students contact the UW-Eau Claire Financial Aid Office as soon as possible. Various types of loans are available to help most students cover the extra expense of a laptop, with the amount of the loan dependent on such factors as the student’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) need, the amount he or she has already borrowed, and credit score.