Apple has partnered with Washington D.C.’s Gallaudet University — the world’s leading university for deaf, hard of hearing, and deafblind students — to offer all students and faculty Apple devices. Learners and teachers alike will receive an iPad Pro, Apple Pencil, and SmartFolio for iPad Pro.
The offer is also available to students and teachers at the Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center, Gallaudet’s partner program for students in grades K-12.
“On behalf of the Gallaudet University family, I want to extend my thanks and deep appreciation to everyone at Apple,” said Gallaudet University President Roberta J. Cordano in a statement. “This unique collaboration aligns perfectly with Gallaudet’s bilingual mission and will serve a critical role in advancing both ASL vibrancy and greater equity for our community. We very much look forward to working with Apple and I have no doubt that our students will benefit from this collaboration far beyond their college years.”
Apple’s support doesn’t stop at handing out free devices. It’s also offering scholarship support for students of color with disabilities. These scholarships — which, from the sound of things, will also be available to non-Gallaudet students, is for people wanting to pursue work in STEM fields. Apple is also giving the opportunity for students to get involved with future Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) events.
Apple’s accessibility drive
Apple has long been a company that embraces accessibility products. Early on during his time as Apple CEO, Tim Cook talked about Apple’s belief in the power of accessibility tech during a speech at Auburn University. Cook said that, “People with disabilities often find themselves in a struggle to have their human dignity acknowledged. They frequently are left in the shadows of technological advancements that are a source of empowerment and attainment for others. But Apple’s engineers push back against this unacceptable reality. They go to extraordinary lengths to make our products accessible to people with various disabilities from blindness and deafness to various muscular disorders.”
Apple continues to add accessibility features to its products. With iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, it has created a feature that can listen for sounds like running water, smoke alarms, babies crying, and more — and then warn users about it with an on-screen notification.