The CSUCCESS program’s iPad bundle includes an iPad Air, Apple Pencil and Apple Smart Keyboard Folio. (Courtesy of Hazel Kelly)

CPP provides free tech rentals to incoming students, hoping to close equality gap

By Janean Sorrell, Jan. 25, 2022

Incoming spring 2022 first-year and transfer students are now able to pick up an iPad technology bundle — iPad Air, Apple Pencil and Apple Smart Keyboard Folio — or Dell laptop and a hotspot at the University Library as part of phase two of the California State University Connectivity Contributing to Equality and Success, or CSUCCESS, initiative.

By providing students this technology, CSUCCESS hopes to produce equitable opportunities, heighten student achievement and close equality gaps.

“Technology is one of the key drivers of academic success and they’re going to have the same device for two years if they’re a transfer student or four years if they’re an incoming freshman,” said University Library Dean Pat Hawthorne. “So, they’re going to get the security of knowing that the device is available to them.”

The CSUCCESS program’s iPad bundle includes an iPad Air, Apple Pencil and Apple Smart Keyboard Folio. (Courtesy of Hazel Kelly)

According to Ben Quillian, associate vice president for the Division of Information Technology and Institutional Planning, Cal Poly Pomona has roughly 100 incoming spring 2022 first-year and transfer students who are eligible to participate in the CSUCCESS program. The eligible students were advised of the program during orientation and sent emails with the information to request a device if needed. So far, 10 have signed up.

“The thing I really like about this program is it strengthens the commitment that the university really wants to make sure that wherever possible we’re making computing equipment and Wi-Fi available to any students that need it,” said Quillian.

Phase one of the CSUCESS program was initially launched in fall 2021 in response to the pivot to online learning due to COVID-19 and complaints of challenges accessing dependable internet and quality devices. During phase one, eight CSU campuses distributed roughly 27,000 device bundles to the 30,000 incoming first-time students who were eligible for the program. This phase cost roughly $23 million.

Phase two added six campuses, CPP, Dominguez Hills, Fullerton, Long Beach, San Bernardino and Sonoma, to total 14 out of the CSU’s 23 locations.

Funding for the program is provided by federal COVID-19 relief programs and some CSU campuses are tapping into their reserves.

Phase three is contingent upon additional funding. However, in November 2021, CSU trustees submitted their budget request to the state and requested a budget of $75 million to support CSUCCESS and similar types of programs.

The CSUCCESS program is an extension the library’s already existing technology lending program which offers any CPP student the option to check out a laptop or hotspot for a four-hour window while on campus or for the entire semester. Currently the library has 350 devices and other items such as microphones, headphones and disposal earphones available for students.

Students who did not sign up for CSUCCESS originally may still do so by either responding to the email sent or by contacting the library. After signing an agreement, students may pick up their device on the second floor of the library where they can also receive assistance with the equipment and help setting up Eduroam, CPP’s on-campus Wi-Fi.

After the end of each semester, students participating in the program will need to check in to validate that they are still planning to reenroll next semester.

Currently the university is working on a plan for lost, damaged or stolen devices and asks that students report such incidents to the library as soon as possible.

According to Mike Uhlenkamp, a spokesperson from the CSU Chancellor’s Office, the CSUCCESS program is a key factor in CSU Graduation Initiative 2025, which aims to increase graduation rates across all CSU’s and eradicate opportunity and achievement gaps.

“This is a program whereby providing students high quality technology and internet productivity, they should be successful from day one on their respective CSU campus,” said Uhlenkamp.

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