Student Computer Information

FAQs-Student Computer Information

Frequently Asked Questions

computer keyboardQ: Why does the College of Communications have a laptop requirement?

Using computers has become an integral part of the college experience. Students in the College’s professional majors use computers to design advertising campaigns, edit video and photographs, write news stories and many other tasks. The College maintains numerous computer labs and will continue to operate labs.  But using student-owned laptops in various courses is another way to help students learn important skills and prepare them for communications professions.

Q: Where should I buy my laptop?

Laptops can be purchased directly from the manufacturer and from most electronic and office
supply stores. Educational discounts are often available for students, especially during the
summer. If cost is an issue, leasing is an option. We recommend against buying a used laptop.
We also discourage sharing a laptop with another student.

Q: What happens if I have problems with my laptop?
Students should purchase and install anti-virus/security software. Students are also strongly recommended to purchase a warranty for their laptop. For more about
information about the Apple warranty go to Apple Care at:
https://www.apple.com/support/products/mac.html
Apple laptop repairs are available locally at Connecting Point Computers (135 S. Allen St., State College / 814-234-3586). Residential Computing (www.rescom.psu.edu) provides computer support for
Penn State students living in the dormitories.

Q: Is financial aid available to help pay the cost of the laptop?

For students who qualify for financial aid through FAFSA, it is possible that some of the cost of the laptop -- because it is required -- may be included in your expected expenses. We recommend that students contact Penn State’s Office of Student Aid at 814-865-6301.

The College of Communications has a limited amount of funds to help students who have financial need to defray the cost of purchasing a laptop. To learn more, contact Janet Klinefelter at jqk9@psu.edu.

Q: What if I decide to change my major?
The recommended laptop hardware specifications are broad enough so students should be able
to use the laptop successfully for many courses at Penn State, regardless of major. Some departments or colleges do have different software requirements, though.

  • For hardware and technical questions about the laptop requirement, please email CommSupport@psu.edu with "Laptop Requirements" in the subject line. Then please share your full name and your question.

For other general questions about the laptop requirement, contact Associate Dean Ford Risley at
jfr4@psu.edu or 814-865-2181.