Dartmouth College and Virginia Tech have adopted initiatives similar to UNC that require all students to purchase personal computers, hoping to enhance student education through the electronic expansion of the classroom.
And some students and administrators at these schools, aside from technological glitches, say they are pleased with the requirement.
"The program has been successful for several years now and has been a significant tool in helping students to complete assignments," said Heather McElrath, Virginia Tech spokeswoman.
The faculty at Dartmouth and Virginia Tech decided to require students to own computers to maximize the schools' computing networks.
"By 1991, it was the feeling of the faculty that you couldn't be an effective part of the community without a computer," William Brawley, spokesman for Dartmouth's computing group, said. "So now everyone here has a computer."
Student complaint at Dartmouth is limited to frequent network shutdowns, but the school is able to fix the problem with little time lost. Dartmouth, a member of the Ivy League, has required students to own computers since 1991.
Unlike UNC, Dartmouth students are allowed to use the computer type of their choice and can even bring a personal computer from home instead of purchasing one from the school. Only students at Dartmouth's business school must own IBM Think Pad laptops.
Brawley said that Dartmouth's size -- about 4,000 undergraduate students and about 1,000 graduate students -- has made the transition over the past 10 years very manageable.
In four years there will be about16,000 undergraduate students at UNC, all with their own laptops.