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Frequently Asked Questions

Are students REQUIRED to own a computer?

It is recommended that all students have a personal computer. Basic specifications are below, while a number of academic departments also require or recommend certain upgrades to complete coursework. While there are a number of computer labs on campus and the Virtual Computing Lab is available 24/7, owning a computer (particularly a laptop) offers many advantages. Check the requirements list for your academic major's computer requirements, if any.

Is the cost of a computer included in tuition?

No, each student is responsible for purchasing his or her own computer.

Does financial aid include the cost of a computer?

Each student's situation is handled on a case-by-case basis. Contact Financial Aid as early as possible by phone 252.328.6610, fax 252.328.4347 or e-mail

Should I purchase a laptop or a desktop computer?

While a laptop costs more than a desktop, students are able to take a laptop to class and access the wireless network. Having a laptop also makes it easier to complete course assignments when traveling.

Laptops enable in-class use of computers, which has proven beneficial in some classes. However, most instructors do not make extensive use of laptops in class. Students do use personal laptops (or desktop computers) for out-of-class assignments and projects. Laptop users find the greatest benefit is mobility.

Desktop computers offer advantages also. They are less expensive, and students sometimes find working at a desk with a keyboard, mouse and monitor more comfortable. Desktops are also less prone to loss and theft.

We encourage students to talk to their advisor before making a final decision.

Do you recommend a particular computer?

Students should purchase a computer meeting any academic program specifications, if any. The Lenovo and Apple computers available through ECU's Dowdy Student Stores are configured to meet program requirements. Also, special on-campus hardware/software support is available to students whose computers are ordered through the ACE Initiative Program.

Am I allowed to purchased from any computer vendor?

Yes, students can purchase a new computer from any vendor or manufacturer. However, while ALL students receive some computer support, only those systems purchased through the ACE program will receive full hardware repair and other benefits, such as the loaner computer program. The ACE program's support staff are approved by the Lenovo and Apple vendors.

My parents' company has an employee computer purchase plan. Is it okay if I buy the same computer through them instead of through ACE?

Students can obtain a computer from any manufacturer. However, only those purchased through the ACE Initiative Program receive full support.

What if my grandparent buys the computer for me through ACE?

No problem. Make sure all warranty information is in the student's name; this greatly simplifies hardware support.

Will we use laptops in our classes?

That depends on your academic department. Check the academic program system requirements chart to see what your program requires. However, note that students with laptops have found the most important and valuable uses for their laptops are out of class. Some classes do benefit greatly from in-class use of laptops.

Will I need to bring my laptop to class every day?

Only specific departments have requirements. There is NOT a university-wide requirement. Ownership is optional.

In the areas where a laptop is required, it will vary from class to class, but generally no. Your professor will announce when/if it is necessary. Some professors allow you to use them to take notes, and some will ask you to close them when they're not being used. Some students are distracted by having the laptops with them and do non-educational things when they should be listening. Others find them very valuable as note-taking and researching devices. Each individual professor will have specific rules. Very few classes use them every day. The value of having a laptop comes less in what happens in class than in having appropriate technology at all times and anywhere you need or want it!

What about software for my ACE computer? Is it okay if I install my favorite stuff when my computer arrives?

Your ACE computer will arrive with a default configuration. Several departments will require specific software. Software is purchased separately and installed by you. When possible, we provide assistance in the ACE Support Center with installation, if needed.

Will there be any special orientation or training?

Yes. There will be informational sessions at summer orientation; we will answer all questions related to computing on ECU's campus for incoming students. When school starts in the fall, we will have training sessions for students, to help with installing software, properly configure Symantec AntiVirus, how to back up data and more.

What if my computer breaks after I arrive at school?

The ACE Support Center will be available for warranty hardware repairs. Warranties will last at least three years. Repair and parts replacement services are only available for ACE-approved computers ONLY.

Where can I go for support?

Students are encouraged to call ECU's Student Help Desk (252.328.9866/1.800.340.7081) with support questions. Technicians will answer your question or direct you to the best source. Walk-in support is available in the ACE Support Center, 108 Rawl, Main campus and 3330 Health Sciences Building, Health Sciences campus.

What's covered by the warranty?

Manufacturer defects. ACE-approved Lenovo laptops also include accidental protection coverage, such as spilled drinks. However, this coverage will not cover theft or fire; home owner's or rental insurance is recommended for that type of protection. ACE-approved Macintosh computers do not include accidental protection, but this type of insurance can be purchased from outside vendors such as Safeware.

What about insurance?

We strongly recommend that you add a rider to your home owner's insurance or take out a small policy that covers fire and/or theft. Those things are not covered by warranty.

What should I do to protect against laptop theft?

We encourage students to buy protective laptop backpacks, which look like a normal backpack but have additional straps and cushion inside. Books in a regular backpack (without padded laptop compartments) will damage laptops! The padded laptop compartment is critical.

Students should treat backpacks as they would a purse - keep it close at all times, even in a bathroom stall.

A laptop cable lock is available at ECU's Dowdy Student Stores, as well as at many suppliers of computer equipment. When your computer is out of your possession, it is most vulnerable to theft. Keep dorm rooms locked at all times for the safety of your laptop as well as your other personal items.

Thefts will occur. It is the responsibility of the student to protect a personal computer at all times.

Who should I contact if I have more questions?

The ACE Support Center is in Rawl 108, Main campus across from the ECU Dowdy Student Stores. You can call David Creech, ACE coordinator at 252.328.9544 /

Purchase inquiries should be directed to ECU's Dowdy Student Store.
Phone: 252.328.4360/1.877.499.8398.

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