In an attempt to make computer ownership a feasible, affordable reality for Yale undergraduates and employees, administrators have arranged deals with several leading computer manufacturers, including Dell, IBM and Apple, to ease the financial burden of purchasing a computer.

Discounts on student machines began several years ago, Information Technology Services Director Philip Long said. But there has been a change in the nature of the initiative, he said — this year, the new discounts focus on making Dell computers affordable to all University employees.

“What happened this year; that was different,” Long said. “Rob Schwartz from [the Human Relations Department] came into the equation, and, in addition to serving students and faculty, we give staff a good option for a home machine.”

Long said the partnership with Dell will provide employees of the University with reasonable computing options replete with extensive online training, career-related software and a substantial trial of free Internet access. The machine offered is a Dell Dimension 2400 with an Intel Celeron processor and a 17-inch monitor at a price of $544, plus shipping and handling charges.

This particular program, Schwartz said, evolved as “a way that [University officials] can leverage Yale’s purchasing power” to provide affordable computer options to the Yale community.

To date, approximately 30 machines have been purchased under the auspices of the program, said Stephen Arnold, a senior buyer for the University’s Procurement Department.

Branford College dining hall worker Lapresha Scott said she did not currently have the funds to purchase a computer through the program, but she said she would consider it if her situation changed.

“That’s actually a great price,” she said. “You are going to need a computer nowadays, [and this] is affordable.”

Trumbull College dining hall worker Michelle Taylor said she was interested in buying a computer from Dell with the discount.

“Usually computers cost way more than that,” she said.

The Dell program is only one of several computing options available to students and employees, among them IBM and Apple, but Dell’s is the most visible due to the publicity generated by its announcement, Long said.

Yale put in a great deal of effort in equipping the community with what they saw as the best possible machines for good prices, Schwartz said.

“We set clear specifications that a machine had to have,” he said. “We set some pretty high standards.”