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College ownership plans

Increasingly, technology-oriented colleges and universities are requiring students to own microcomputers for use in course work. The move raises sticky questions about how the machines should be used - and who should pay for them.

While schools iron out the details, plans have been announced with a flourish of publicity. These include:

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* Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh. This school has launched an ambitious development program, financed through a partnership with IBM, which could build the world's largest computer network shortly after 1985. The eventual goal is to link over 8,000 microcomputers, enough so that students, teachers, and staff members could have their own machines. Although a final decision has not been announced, students are likely to have to buy their microcomputers.

* Clarkson College of Technology, Potsdam, N.Y. All incoming freshmen will buy Zenith Z100 microcomputers when they arrive on campus next fall. The cost of the computer package, including hardware and software, is about $1,800 and will be financed over four years.

* Drexel University, Philadelphia. Next fall's entire freshman class will buy computers for use in course work. The school wrangled with more than a dozen computer companies before choosing the system, which is likely to be announced within a month. Officials had originally pegged $1,000 as the estimated price.

* Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, N.Y. A contract with Digital Equipment will bring 5,000 personal computers onto campus over three or four years. The machines will eventually be linked together into a campuswide network. The cost for each computer: $2,800. But unlike most schools, purchase will be optional.

* Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, N.J. Beginning last fall, freshmen taking classes in the science or systems planning and management curricula were required to buy Atari 800 personal computers. The complete system , which included a black and white television monitor, cost $740. (Students who already owned comparable or superior machines weren't required to buy another.)

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