How is UK going to pay for all those iPads?


The University of Kentucky announced a $500,000 investment into the campus’s mental health resources on Feb. 21, 2020. Photo by Rick Childress

Rick Childress

UK officials announced Tuesday that the university would be spending $1.5 million to provide up to 5,900 iPad Airs and other Apple products to the incoming freshman class.

The measure was approved by the UK Board of Trustees on Tuesday afternoon as the first step in a larger university initiative to increase graduation rates and “persistence” by using technology to ease the transition from high school to college and to better connect the campus community, a press release stated

Do they get to keep the iPads?

UK spokesperson Jay Blanton told the Kernel that the students will retain ownership of the iPads upon graduation. 

“We are continuing to work on the specifics of what will happen in situations where a student leaves UK before they graduate,” Blanton said. 

Blanton said the university is still working out the specifics of the plan, and since the Board of Trustees approved the plan on Tuesday, officials can start to “dig further into those logistics so we can be prepared for each unique scenario that will arise.”

Where is the money coming from?

UK spokesperson Jay Blanton told the Kernel that the $1.5 million is coming from money generated by campus efficiency projects.

Campus efficiency projects, Blanton said, are energy saving initiatives that have been ongoing within the university for years.

“So, we’ve generated millions in savings over the last several years through greater efficiency in business operations,” Blanton told the Kernel in an email. “For example, we’ve undertaken a campus-wide project to ensure that buildings use energy more efficiently – things like heating and cooling, use of lights – that is generating significant savings.”

What happens when the iPads break or have issues?

Blanton said that the university has struck a deal with Apple that will give students AppleCare+.

According to Apple’s website, AppleCare+ for iPads allows device owners years of coverage for accidental damage and allows users to get repair service from Apple for $49 per incident. 

UK’s Information Technology Services will provide IT support for the devices and provide customer service to students when encounter issues with the iPads.

“We’re not interested in this being a financial impediment for our students, and we’ve designed the initiative to deliver a high quality customer-service experience to our students that is a part of the experience that incoming students receive at UK. Year 1 will be filled with many learnings, and we intend to get better every day,” Blanton said.