ok, michelle... i called financial aid and here is the deal with the computer:
once you buy the computer, you need to send in a "P-letter" to the financial aid office as well as a receipt for the purchase price of the computer. once you do that, financial aid will increase your cost of attendance by the price of the computer. then you need to go to your private lender and request the additional amount.
this all has to happen no later than 4 weeks after classes start. also, the computer can't cost more than $3000.
so the one catch here is that you have to buy the computer first and THEN ask for more $$.
also, im considering buying a computer from a company called PCs for Everyone (www.pcsforeveryone.com
). they are based in cambridge, ma and are VERY reputable. i first heard of them when i was at Tufts because the entire IT department buys their custom computers from this company. when i was in grad school (also at tufts) and i needed an extremely fast machine (faster than i could buy through dell or any of those companies) i had the school get me my research computer from this place.
the reasons why id go with this place over the dells at school is that (1) everything from the power supply to the hard drive is name-brand (as opposed to dell where only the "big" stuff is name brand and the rest is generic, (2) they are a local company, (3) they know their *&^% (unlike the tech people you speak to on the phone at dell and (4) the prices are just as low as dell's
the one down side is that, while they do offer a 3 year warranty, they dont offer a complete warranty like dell does where even if i break it they fix it. this warranty thing is the one reason im still considering a dell.
just wanted to let you know what other options are out there...