Notebooks for Students - A Nonprofit Organization

By Jennifer Acee - Feature editor for the Pride
Cal State San Marcos, Fall 2003

 
The year was 1998. The heroic agents were two fed up students at Glendale College. Their mission was to tackle the vice of notebook computer prices. These laptop price warriors, David Puzo and Raymond Issaghollian, came up with a plan for securing reduced rates on portable computing devices. They put their plan into action for the benefit of all of their fellow students, and so began the epic of Notebooks for Students.

Today, Notebooks for Students (NFS) is a small organization that is steadily gaining popularity and renown. NFS offers anyone with a current student identification card the opportunity to purchase a refurbished laptop computer with a one-year warranty, at almost too-good-to-be-true prices. Puzo, a business major, and Issaghollian, an information technology major, merged their conviction and expertise and came out with a concept and a plan: NFS. Their program takes advantage of notebook manufacturers' inventories of off-lease refurbished laptops in order to sell them to students at 1/2 to 1/3 of the market prices. SONY, IBM, Toshiba, Compaq, and DELL are partner manufacturers offering NFS their refurbished products at reduced rates.

"There is no better feeling than experiencing the excitement when a student walks away with a notebook they thought they could never afford. You can just feel the GPA rising," commented co-founder Puzo. The organization, currently four members strong, is adamant that their relationship with students is symbiotic. "We succeed when you succeed," reads their website. Remarking further on what NFS does "to succeed," Puzo said, "we need to fill all the needs that students have." Hence, along with affordable laptops, NFS offers warranties, tech support, and a buyback program.

The warranty guarantees the hardware for one year from the date of purchase. The buyback program enables customers to sell their notebook back to NFS up to two years after the purchase for 50% of the original price, so long as it is still in good condition. Additionally, the original purchaser may contact NFS members for support during the first year. All-in-all, Puzo said, "We feel that we have a program that supplies a good product and all the support services necessary to fully serve the student population." The organization has served students at Cal State San Marcos, SDSU, UCSD, Cal State Northridge, Cal Poly Pomona, Cal State Fullerton, UC Irvine, Cal State San Bernardino, and UC Santa Barbara.

Theodore Shove, a senior at Cal State San Bernardino, recently purchased a laptop from NFS and is pleased with the product and the "excellent" service he received. "It really helps out a lot [to have the laptop]. I've actually been taking it to class to take notes, and it's been working out really well," said Shove. Shove also mentioned that the notebooks from NFS generally come with only the most basic of programs. Therefore, clients should make sure to be clear about what they are purchasing beforehand, and may request additional programs prior to making the purchase. "They are not always the latest models but [are] more than adequate to run professional Office and the Internet," remarked Puzo.

In December, just in time for Christmas, Lisa Payne purchased a Dell 700 for her daughter, a CSUSM student. Of her transaction with NFS, Payne said, "I would certainly use them again and felt they have very good prices." The only complaint she had was over payment methods, as online Pay Pal transactions are the only accepted form of payment. "We just wanted to pay with our own credit card, like every other web site," said Payne. The models are not the newest, making a large purchase online can be intimidating, and some find the payment method inconvenient. Yet, in spite of the drawbacks, Notebooks for Students may be worth remembering when shopping for an affordable laptop. Students interested in Notebooks for Students may telephone a member at 1-866-467-8213 or email at Info@notebooksforstudents.org. The company website, including descriptions of the available inventory, is www.notebooksforstudents.org.

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