by Amy O’Loughlin
It is a little known fact that adjunct faculty qualify for computer manufacturer software and hardware discounts. Liz Keefe, an adjunct instructor at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, had no idea that she could get a discount directly from a manufacturer.
“I’d love to get a discounted computer,” says Keefe. “I need one badly. . . . I haven’t checked into it where I teach, but I kind of doubt [that I would receive a discount].”
Clare Horn, an adjunct at Emerson College in Boston, was also unfamiliar with this money-saving perk.
“I’m in the market to buy a new computer, and didn’t even consider that I might be able to get a discount,” Horn declares. “I was hoping to buy a Mac. Is Apple one of the ones that offers the discount?”
Despite their relative obscurity, discounts for adjuncts do exist. And yes, Apple is one of several big-name computer manufacturers that offer special pricing to part-time faculty. There are other companies, such as Toshiba, and distributor Global Computers with discount-pricing programs in place, as well. So, whether a high-end Apple PowerBook® G4, which retails for nearly $3,000, is on your wish list, or a more moderately priced Dell Dimension®, which costs below $500, it’s possible to save some cold cash on a hot, new computer.
Keep in mind that tracking down discounts takes time, smart shopping, and price checking to track down the best deals. Each manufacturer has different discount pricing policies, and some offer no educator discounts at all. Others alter their special pricing and promotions regularly (sometimes on a weekly or monthly basis), while some offer heftier discounts if you purchase through state- or school-sanctioned contracts, which procurement associations establish to secure discounts on volume-purchasing by educational institutions and state and local governments.
One example of one such contract is the University of Massachusetts’s “UBuy U$ave UMass” program, which partners with Dell, Gateway, and Apple to provide reduced pricing to students, faculty and staff. Gateway also collaborates with the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) and the National Association for Equal Opportunity (NAFEO) to bring discounts to the associated schools’ faculty. It is important to note that these procurement contract programs do not always include adjunct faculty.
So, how do adjuncts go about getting faculty discounts? By making a direct call to the manufacturer or by going on-line. Manufacturers have toll-free phone numbers for higher education sales support. Their Web sites detail the discounts they offer, and several manufacturers have on-line stores where you can peruse pricing, promotions, system specifications, configurations, and purchase options. When dealing directly with a manufacturer, either on-line or over the phone, employment status is a non-issue.
As educators know, access to state-of-the-art technology enhances the teaching experience. Fitting technology into your budget may be a little less challenging knowing that computer purchasing discounts are out there just for you.
Click the Education button at http://www.apple.com/education/ to enter the Apple Store for Education. There, price reductions of 10 percent to 15 percent on Apple’s complete line of desktops and laptops are available. Call 1-800-MY-APPLE to speak with a sales representative.
With discounted desktops starting as low as $476 and laptops at $759, Dell easily offers the best value. Yet, be advised—pricing fluctuates frequently. In a three-week span, the Dimension® 2400 went from $382 to $426 to $476. It is difficult to report actual discount percentages, but they can run from between 8 percent to 20 percent. You must give your school’s member number when ordering. If ordering on-line at http://www.dell.com, you are prompted to enter the school’s member number before final configuration. However, there is also a link below the box that will take you directly to the Member Purchase Program. If ordering by telephone at 1-800-695-8133, a sales representative will provide that number for you.
Gateway’s on-line store, http://www. gateway.com/work/ed/hi-ed, is tricky to navigate. If you are not purchasing through HACU or NAFEO contracts, you are asked to indicate your school’s state. You are then given a list of corresponding Education Specialists to contact for further information. Discounts vary from state to state, but are generally 5 percent on Gateway’s 510 and 710 desktops; 5 percent on the 275, 450, and 675 notebook series. Specialists are available at 888-888-0392, or shop your local Gateway store.
A distributor of Systemax® notebooks and build-to-order PCs, Global (http://www. globalgoved.com) discounts its full line of systems. Contact Education Sales Representative, Melissa Rerichs, at 1-888-445-2725 ext. 1583 for information regarding products and pricing.
Discounts range from 8 percent to 10 percent on most notebooks and all desktops. Call 1-800-696-4662 for pricing information or ordering. Buy on-line at http://www.government.hp.com.
IBM offers discounts of up to 20 percent through state procurement contracts. Purchaser must use school purchase order or credit card. IBM reduces prices on faculty personal purchases; however, there is no set discount percentage. All discounts are figured on a customer-by-customer, system-by-system basis. Visit http://www.ibm.com/industries/education, or call 1-888-SHOP-IBM.
No discounts, unless the school opens an account and makes a direct purchase. The company does, however, often offer rebates (http://www.sharpsystems.com/rebates/) on its products to individual shoppers. For inquiries, go to http://www.sharpsystems.com or call 1-800-BE-SHARP.
Toshiba manufactures only laptops. They offer $30 to $100 reductions on their complete line. Buy on-line at The Education Store at http://www.csd.toshiba.com, or call Education and Government Direct Sales at 1-888-62-LEARN.