Students purchase tech based on cost of college

David Becker, Staff Writer

When students are in and out of college, the whole process of buying new tech products can become incredibly stressful since college students typically have a lower budget due to campus costs.

In years past, it has impacted me by not being able to buy a new laptop. The one I have been looking to buy is a new 2016-styled MacBook Pro with 8GB of RAM (I’d like to have 16GB but I can compromise), 256GB SSD and no TouchBar. According to Apple, that’s going to cost around $1,500. Best Buy does have sales on them that can be sometimes up to $200 off, but even at $1,300, that is still way too much for me and most college students.

To get by, I have been using my MacBook Pro that came out in 2012 and just bought a new iPad with my tax refund last month. Yes, it does help and I can write it off as a college expense since I use the iPad to put my textbooks on, but at the same time, I would really rather have the new MacBook Pro. It’s more powerful, thinner than my current model, and can do the work that I need it to do and then some.

With that said, I cannot have many apps or programs open on my MacBook Pro due to its only 4GB of RAM, which is half of what the industry standard needs today, which is 8GB of RAM. It means that it will take forever to open and use the Outlook for Mac app or rendering and exporting movies from iMovie. A new MacBook Pro would have no issues with that.

But how does this all impact other students? When working at Best Buy back in the summer of 2014, I found that many people who were going into college or just out of college were only wanting to spend $300 to $400 on a laptop, when in actuality, they probably needed something that went for $500 to $600 just to get better value out of it, not to mention that the more you spend, the more likely your laptop will last you all four years of college.

I have also seen that students are not spending the extra $140 at retail stores to get Microsoft Office because every single penny counts. The good thing with that is that WSC students get that for free through the school. However, I have seen a lot of people using Google Docs because it is free and syncs with all of your devices you have linked to your account. This means that if you want to write a paper on your laptop, go home, and forget your laptop at school, you can still write on it like you normally would with a family laptop or desktop computer.

I personally use Apple’s iWork software like Pages since they are free apps that you get with the purchase of a new Mac or iOS device. The apps work better than Microsoft Office to me because they are more simplistic and take up less RAM on my MacBook Pro.

When it comes to smartphones, I see the same thing. I see a lot of people getting these really old and crappy Android smartphones and older iPhones because they simply cannot afford to buy a brand new one, so, if their smartphone goes bad or the screen cracks, they either get it fixed or buy some cheap smartphone that doesn’t work that well either.

With the average student taking on nearly $40,000 in student loan debt, it should be no surprise that these young people cannot afford to buy or do anything for themselves after college. College can be an important investment for some, but this nonsense of spending even $20K to $30K on a college degree is horrendous.

FOX News anchor Tucker Carlson had this to say last week when it came to college and student loan debt for the students of today: “Young people with student loans are far less likely to buy cars or homes, get married or have children than their parents’ generation was. Their attitudes are different too. When you see polls showing that young people prefer socialism to capitalism, student loan debt is one of the big reasons why…Student debt is crushing an entire generation.”