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A Different Kind of Student Loan

Staff Senate’s Computer Loan Program loans free computers to eligible employees to help them with professional development and other technological needs.

The silhouette of a person working on a laptop in Fitts-Woolard Hall

Several years ago, one of Jessica Anderson’s colleagues in University Housekeeping suggested that she sign up for the NC State Staff Senate Computer Loan Program to help her earn a bachelor’s degree online. At that time, she didn’t have the desire — or the time — to go back to school.

A few years later, Anderson’s circumstances changed when she got a new job as a campus operator. Because she had to stay at her desk and her main responsibility was to answer and direct phone calls to people around the university, she found that there was a lot of time to get additional projects done while she was at work. That’s when she decided to request a laptop through the Computer Loan Program and pursue a bachelor’s degree.

“It meant everything to me that NC State offered this program,” Anderson said. “Up until three or four years ago, I was making below $35,000 a year. I had three kids, and I was a single mom trying to put them through school and light a fire under their behinds. With all those things factored in, I wouldn’t have been able to afford a computer on my own. That’s why it meant everything. It meant me finishing my degree, and it convinced me to get started in the first place.”

Jessica Anderson takes a selfie wearing her hat for graduation
Jessica Anderson celebrating her graduation from University of Phoenix in 2021

Anderson received her bachelor’s degree in business administration and management through the University of Phoenix in 2021. She now works as an administrative support associate for utilities and engineering and serves on the Staff Senate Computer Loan Program Committee herself, spreading the word to other employees. In addition to being a spokesperson, Anderson volunteers to pick up and deliver computers to loan recipients. She also helps new users set up accounts, download software and find resources on their devices. 

“It was near and dear to my heart and helped me out so much, so I thought, why not help somebody else out?” Anderson said. “I’m a firm believer in testimony. If you’re given an opportunity, then you have a responsibility to share that opportunity so somebody else can have it as well.”

How To Participate — and How To Help

While other universities offer similar computer loan programs for their employees, NC State is one of the only universities in the nation to provide the service for free. The program is open to permanent NC State staff members who earn an annual salary of less than $45,000 per year and work at least 35 hours per week. Those who want to apply for a computer loan must complete an application form, which will be reviewed by the Computer Loan Program committee. Computers are loaned for one year at a time, and staff members who remain eligible for the program can renew their loans.

Anderson encourages other employees who think the program could help them to complete the form right away.

It meant me finishing my degree, and it convinced me to get started in the first place.

“You have nothing to lose,” she said. “You never know what situation you might be in down the road. It might help you file your taxes, or it might even help your kids do homework or apply to college. If you don’t have the money for a household computer, it can be a real solution.”

So far, more than 200 staff members have benefited from the initiative.

“The Computer Loan Program is dedicated to supporting NC State staff who are interested in furthering their careers, education and professional proficiency,” said Pam Van Emden, Computer Loan Program chair. “This past year, our team has worked diligently to increase inventory, streamline the process and bring awareness of the program to our staff community.”

The Computer Loan Program relies on donations, and there is a current need for more university-owned Windows and Apple laptops. Departments planning to surplus laptops may complete the Staff Senate Computer Transfer Form to donate them to the program. All computers are wiped clean by a certified technician before redistribution.

Personal MacBooks and Windows laptops are also accepted and processed by NC State Advancement Services. Those who donate will receive a Form BA-151 for a tax-deductible donation.

For more information about the program and how to donate, please visit