The East Alton school district in southwest Illinois announced earlier this week that it will be launching a one-ton-one iPad deployment for all students in grades three through eight (plus shared iPads for kindergarten through second grade). The announcement is far from unique. Many schools across the U.S. and throughout the world have already launched similar programs – some of them on a much larger scale.
One of the interesting points about East Alton’s decision, however, is that the school district isn’t buying the iPads for its students – a least not initially. Instead, the district has signed a four-year leasing agreement for the iPads. The decision highlights Apple’s often overlooked leasing programs for both business education customers.
As reported by The Telegraph, a local newspaper in western Illinois, the school district originally looked at purchasing iPads for its students outright (along with 70 MacBook Air notebooks for teachers), which would’ve cost around half a million dollars. By signing up for the four-year lease, the district will pay about $129,000 each year of the lease and will be eligible to purchase the used iPads from Apple for $1 per device at the end of the lease.
When all is said and done, the district will pay about $16,000 more to lease the iPads than it would to purchase them immediately (not counting the additional $650 to buy them at the end of the lease). While that is ultimately more expensive, the lease option allowed the district to reallocate money in its existing budget to cover the annual cost. As a result, the district didn’t have to resort to additional bond items or state aid as it would have needed to do in order to make a single large-scale purchase of the iPads.
Apple offers business and schools (K-12 districts and private schools as well as colleges and universities) a range of lease options.
Businesses and schools can both take advantage of the $1 Purchase Option Lease program opted for by East Alton.
Another option for companies and schools is Apple’s Fair Market Value Lease, which is a bit more like leasing a car – at the end of the lease, organizations can return the equipment to Apple and receive new equipment via another lease or purchase some or all of the equipment for its market value as used equipment at that time.
Businesses can also take advantage of a 10% Purchase Option Lease, which is somewhat like a combination of the other two programs. At the end of the lease, a company can return the used equipment and begin a new lease for new equipment or purchase the equipment from Apple at 10% of its cost at the beginning of the lease.
Apple also offers customized lease and financing options for schools and colleges and more traditional credit financing options for business purchases.
Although leasing isn’t the appropriate option for every school or business, it can be a viable option in a wide range of circumstances and can be extremely attractive to small business customers. You can find more details about these lease programs, as well as direct to consumer financing options, on Apple’s financing site.