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Some California Schools May Require Freshman To Have Personal Computers

September 8, 1994

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) _ Three state universities want to make ownership of a personal computer a requirement for admission.

Sonoma State, Humboldt State and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo have asked the chancellor of the 20-school California State University system for permission to adopt the requirement in the fall of 1995.

″This is the 1990s’ equivalent of a slide rule,″ said Mark Resmer, Sonoma State’s associate vice president of information technology.

But a PC is a little more expensive than a slide rule, ranging from about $1,000 to nearly $3,000.

Despite the cost, some private schools and a few public universities have already instituted the requirement.

Don Farish, Sonoma State vice president of academic affairs, said half of this year’s 670 freshmen already have their own computers and 80 percent said they would support such a requirement.

The school said it would not turn away anyone who doesn’t have a computer. And, Resmer said, making computers a requirement would allow low-income students to use financial aid to buy them.

″We have a half-dozen computer labs on campus that are available for students. But it’s like a textbook, we say you can go to the library to read it or you can own it,″ Farish said.

Sonoma State already has wired its dorms for computers, connecting them to the main campus computer. It allows students in the dorm to connect to the library, for instance, or send things to their instructors, Farish said.

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