DEKALB COUNTY, Ala. – Northeast Alabama Community College is the first community college in the state to offer free laptops from a vending machine.
The kiosk inside the Student Center on campus is quick and easy to use.
“Students can come and they can enter their my NACC portal login information and the kiosk will just pop them out a laptop. It also has a camera in it, and it takes their picture when they check it out, also when they return it. It also sends them a receipt in their email saying ‘Hey you returned the laptop’,” said NACC Educational Technology Director Patricia Falk.
It is proving to be a worthwhile purchase for the students including Madelyn Cantrell.
“It is good if you leave your charger, if your laptop breaks, you can just come and check one of these out as long as you need. I would like to take it and sit here and use it or I can take it to the new business collaboration room that they’ve been making,” Cantrell told News 19.
“Right now, times are hard and to be able to give a student this free and no charge, it’s just really exciting,” Falk added.
Falk says they are not worried about them being stolen because a laptop can only be removed by putting in a valid nacc portal email and password.
They are also safe for students to use.
“When a student checks it out, they can log in to their personal logins, they don’t have to worry about security because every time they put the laptop back in, it wipes the laptop clean where it’s a first time user,” Falk explained.
There is a 24 hours time limit, but they are not being too strict on that right now.
The community college bought the $36,000 machine using CARES Act funding.
They will also be using some of that money to upgrade tech in the classrooms and buy hotspots students can rent for free.