Technology Requirements and Recommendations

For fall semester 2024 and beyond, the College of Engineering requires that students bring their own personal laptop to Penn State. Students will be required to use personal laptops frequently for communications and other academic activities. Computer ownership will enable students to fully benefit from the in-class and out-of-class activities and opportunities. Most engineering departments provide remote lab systems via Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). Once students are entitled via their enrollment in a participating department, they will receive instructions on how to access lab systems remotely.

Laptop Recommendations

While many software titles are offered through the College of Engineering’s VDI environment, some applications can be installed on the student’s computer. Many of those applications only run properly on a system running Windows natively. Therefore, the College of Engineering recommends systems capable of running Windows 11.

In addition, it is recommended to use a standard 3-button mouse over a laptop trackpad for optimal performance with the majority of software applications.

To review current system configuration recommendation, please see the laptop recommendations on the Penn State Connect to Tech Student Guide. 

Cost of Attendance Increase for a Computer Purchase

Students receiving a total of financial aid that is already covering their total cost of attendance should contact the Penn State Office of Student Aid to submit a request for a cost of attendance increase for a computer purchase. In the event a student can obtain additional aid to cover the cost of a computer purchase, this increase to their cost of attendance will ensure that any existing financial aid award is not impacted.

** A cost of attendance increase may not be needed for all students. We encourage students to review their current financial aid award before determining if a cost of attendance increase is necessary. **

If a student determines that a cost of attendance increase is necessary, there are two ways to request a "Cost of Attendance Increase for a Computer Purchase." Students must initiate this process after the computer is purchased.

  1. Email Penn State Office of Student Aid (

    In the Inquiry box, select "Other." In the Question or Comment box, enter "I purchased a computer and request a Cost of Attendance increase.

  2. Call the Office of Student Aid at 814-865-6301 to request a Cost of Attendance increase because of a computer purchase.


Updated 3/13/2024



The Engineering IT group provides all aspects of technological support and services to students, faculty and staff in the College of Engineering at Penn State.

Engineering IT

149 Hammond Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4710