By Joseph Hanson, Ranger Reporter:
Many Amarillo College students face the same challenge—they need a computer to succeed in their classes but can’t afford to purchase one. This year, the winners of AC’s second annual staff Innovation Challenge competition have a solution: affordable rental laptops that help students without breaking the bank. This plan will be put into action in only a matter of weeks.
Andrew Flores, consumer electronics buyer for the AC bookstore, hatched this idea with his Innovation Challenge team. He said he has been working on the plan for months.
“We often see students that would like to purchase their own computer but can’t afford it after paying for their textbooks and necessary school supplies. Students will be able to rent a computer and will also have the option to buy it after the rental at a discounted price,” Flores said.
“We are planning to start renting computers by the start of the next eight-week spring semester. We have been testing the hardware for months now and are working to acquire enough hardware for the initial rollout. There will be a limited quantity available but we expect to have more than enough computers available for fall semester,” Flores said.
There won’t be an evaluation of the student’s financial need. It’s going to be open to any student who is interested and needs a computer, said Michael Sugden, another member of the winning team.
The Innovation Challenge is a competition between teams of AC employees who work together to come up with new ideas that support student success. A community panel of judges chose the winning team.
“The goal of the challenge is for us to think differently about how we do our work, our processes and our policies to help you all as students,” Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart, AC president, said.
Jason Driver, a theater major, said that many classes are online and have assignments that can only be reached from a computer. “It’s just a positive thing that will help students who can’t buy a laptop. With this students can actually do their homework and take their tests, students who couldn’t otherwise,” Driver said.