There is no doubt that the Dean's Scholars Program at Baruch College gives students many great resources on campus, such as priority registration, discounted tuition and a free MacBook Air laptop. However, this year’s Dean’s Scholars class received Dell laptops instead of the promised MacBook Air laptops. Prospective Dean’s Scholars students submitted an application under the specification that they would receive a MacBook Air upon their acceptance into the program. It came as a shock to be handed a box containing a Dell Latitude E7250 the morning of Aug. 24, the day these students were asked to traveled into the city to receive their MacBook Airs.
No mention of this change was made to the students receiving them, and the staff running the distribution failed to acknowledge the last-second switch. One brave student in the room of scholars eventually raised his hand and asked about the Dell laptops. The question was addressed with one of the administrators responding, “well, we decided to go with Dells this year.”
Students reached out to the Department of Undergraduate Admissions Director Marisa DeLaCruz about the change. She sent a mass response that read: “the MacBook Air laptop was the model to be provided for last year’s entering cohort of Dean’s Scholars and will not be offered this year. Instead of the Apple machines, we have provided Dean’s Scholars with top-of-the-line Dell laptops, comparable in features, form, and functionality to MacBooks.” This response provides neither answers nor apologies for Baruch’s incompetence in handling the issue properly.
Freshman Kelan Betancourt felt that the responses were “generic, and avoided actually answering the question of why this happened.” Diana Shishkina, another Dean’s Scholars student, felt that “the administration should have kept up their end of the bargain. If they really couldn’t, they should have at least talked to us before we put in our commitment deposits.”
The Dell laptop is not comparable in quality to a MacBook Air. The battery does not last more than two hours at a time, making it difficult to use the laptops in class.
Students are also not permitted to save anything to the local drive, which only provides 117 gigabytes of storage, and the administrator settings on the computer make it impossible to install any extra software, even those which are necessary for classes. Upon receiving an assignment in math, the administrator settings did not allow the necessary software to be installed.
Out-of-state Dean’s Scholars students were handed a more exacerbated situation when they discovered that their scholarship amount would not be matched with the cost of in-state tuition.
When invited to the program, out-of-state students were told that they would receive a scholarship in the amount of the current in-state tuition, which is currently $6,330. Rather than receiving matching in-state-tuition for all four academic years, out-of-state students will continually receive a $6,330 annually renewed scholarship, which can potentially leave these students susceptible to future tuition increases. Though it may seem insignificant, for students paying their own bills, this slight change in diction could make a world of difference.
The treatment of this year’s Dean’s Scholars class has deeply hurt Baruch’s image. Baruch’s administration should, at the very least, issue a formal apology to all entering Dean’s Scholars students. Administration should also immediately provide them with the benefits that they were originally promised. Out-of-state Dean’s Scholars students should be provided with appointment slots at the Office of the Bursar, considering the precarious financial situation in which they are now.