Desktop Purchase Program

For departments that have chosen to participate, SSCF will provide one standard computer with monitor for business office staff members. All of the Social Sciences academic departments paying the standard “tax” (or a comparable SSCF subsidy) are eligible to participate in this program. Arts & Humanities departments, EAOP/TRIO, CREATE, DesignLab and most of the other standalone research programs do not currently participate.

For covered employees with an approved hybrid work agreement, we will provide a secondary work setup with a keyboard, mouse, webcam, docking station, and "non-premium" monitor for the secondary site. The employee can choose which site gets the nicer monitor.

SSCF will not fund secondary machines (even if primary machine is department-purchased) or two monitors in the same location. Systems purchased under the program will be managed using SSCF management tools.

Who are they and what do they need?

What do they get from SSCF?

When do they get a new one (or a new subsidy)?

Who owns it when it is replaced/retired?

SSCF standard laptop for business office staff member

Standard laptop from SSCF hardware pool, laptop bag if needed.

Keyboard, mouse, docking station, webcam if needed.

When it no longer meets our minimum performance standards


Standard monitor for business office staff member

24” monitor, at least 1920x1200 resolution

When it stops working.


Work-from home setup for business office staff member with approved hybrid work agreement

23" monitor, at least 1920x1080 resolution

Keyboard, mouse, docking station, webcam if needed.

(Note: employee can choose which monitor is used at work vs. home)

When it stops working.


SSCF standard Mac system for business office staff member.

Standard SSCF Mac laptop

Keyboard/mouse/docking station/webcam if needed.

When it no longer meets our minimum performance standards.

SSCF if department takes any subsidy, otherwise department.

Non-standard system otherwise meeting SSCF performance standards for business office staff

Subsidy not generally available, contact SSCF for special circumstances.

When it no longer meets our minimum performance standards.

SSCF if department receives any subsidy, otherwise department.

Computer for faculty, researchers, grad students, non-business office staff

SSCF provides purchasing advice and assistance, but purchase is made using department or grant funds.

Department's discretion


Low-end equipment for public spaces, student workers, TAs

If available, hand-me-down systems which may not meet current performance standards but are still usable.



A standard mouse and keyboard are included. The wired Microsoft Natural Keyboard is available for no extra cost. A standard laptop bag will be provided if desired. A webcam (suitable for Zoom conferencing, etc.) will be provided free of charge upon request. Keyboards and mice provided will be PC-style for all systems, if department desires Apple-branded peripherals they must be purchased on department funds.

We are currently providing docking stations that will support our standard PC and Macintosh systems and can handle one high-resolution monitor (up to 4k) or two low-resolution monitors (up to 1920x1080). We have been buying these docking stations as refurbished/off-lease, and will continue to provide them as long as we can acquire them for a reasonable price. We do not subsidize higher-end docking stations, though we can provide some recommendations.

For people with additional accessibility requirements, we will work to make reasonable accommodations. (There is often campus funding available for this.)

Systems were formerly replaced on a 3-to-4-year schedule, but this no longer makes sense given the performance of modern machines, so instead we have switched to a refresh cycle based on minimum specifications. We generally replace machines when they no longer meet the following specifications:

Processor: score over 4000

Memory: 16gb (for most systems, 8gb for existing non-upgradable Macs). SSCF will not pay any subsidy toward a machine with only 8gb RAM since we believe this will significantly shorten its usable life. We are currently in the process of upgrading some older machines to 16gb RAM if they otherwise meet our performance specifications.

Storage: Solid state drive, at least 256gb ("Fusion/hybrid" drives OK on existing machines, not on new purchases.)

Other requirements: Windows machines must have a TPM (Trusted Platform Module). Newly purchased machines must have one that meets TPM 2.0 standards.

Can run currently-supported operating system. (Currently Windows 10, Ubuntu 20.04, MacOS 10.14)

Note that if it is reasonable to upgrade the system rather than replacing it, we may at our option do component upgrades rather than purchasing a new machine.

SSCF does not contribute toward personal printers, personal A/V equipment, or non-standard monitors/keyboards/mice - the department must pay 100% of the purchase price.

Laptop warranties do not cover damage. Repair or replacement of damaged laptops will be paid by the department.

For departmental purchases, our standard Dell configurations are available in the Dell marketplace punchout - just open the punchout and search for Social Sciences. Both Mac models are available pre-configured at the bookstore. SSCF will help in arranging any custom-order configurations.

There are also many ChromeOS machines which can receive the full subsidy - please contact SSCF to see if a ChromeOS device will meet your needs. Newly purchased ChromeOS devices must have at least 4 years of support remaining from Google to receive a subsidy.

Current example machines which receive the full subsidy (no department contribution required) are available on our standard configurations page.