A-Z Index

Northwest Laptops

Northwest Laptops

All Northwest students (graduate and undergraduate) regardless of whether they are full-time or part-time and live on or off campus, are provided with a wireless-ready laptop computer. Northwest laptop models may vary between students depending on availability and enrollment status.  Online professional program students have a different fee structure and are ineligible to participate in the Northwest laptop program.

All repair of Northwest-issued laptops for hardware or software failure as a result of normal "every day wear and tear" is free of charge at the Northwest Technology Service Center, which is located in the Jon T. Rickman Electronic Campus Support Center building.

Northwest-issued LaptopsSince Northwest owns the university-provided laptop computer and its software, the Office of Information Technology reserves the right to format and reload the hard disk without the user's permission once it is returned to the Northwest Technology Service Center (NTSC).  Users are encouraged by Information Technology to back-up their important personal files on a weekly basis to prevent loss of data in case of hardware or software failure.

Northwest-issued Laptop Pickup/Return

Where do I go to pick-up or return my Northwest-issued laptop?

To pick-up or return your campus-issued laptop computer, go to the Northwest Technology Service Center, which is located in the Jon T. Rickman Electronic Campus Support Center building. 

To pickup your laptop, you must read and sign with your initials the Laptop Agreement under the Personal Information tab in CatPAWS.  Here is an example of the latest version of the Laptop Agreement. 

Note:  The latest updated version of the Laptop Agreement will always be located in CatPAWS.  The one on CatPAWS is the one you are expected to sign.

Can I return my Northwest-issued laptop by mail?

Yes, you can! 

While we strongly encourage you to return your campus-issued laptop computer to the Jon T. Rickman Electronic Campus Support Center (ECSC) in-person due to liability issues, if you can not return it in-person you can return it via traditional mail.

To return your campus-issued laptop through the mail, please email the Northwest Technology Service Center at to let us know you are returning your campus-issued laptop via traditional mail and provide a tracking number in the email (if at all possible).

In that email, please include the sticker number from the front of your laptop and your contact information in case the NTSC has any questions and can send you a return receipt. Also, let us know that you are returning the AC adapter as well.  You will be charged $25 if the official Northwest AC adapter is not returned with your campus-issued notebook computer.  Here is the address to send your campus-issued laptop with its AC adapter to:

Northwest Missouri State University
MDC - 800 University Drive
Notebook Returns --ECSC 108
Maryville, MO 64468

Please pack the laptop securely (or have the mail service do it for you), as you are still liable for up to $1500 if it is lost, stolen or damaged in transit.  You are strongly encouraged to put insurance on your campus-issued laptop of $1500 in case it is damaged, lost or stolen while in route to the ECSC via traditional mail.

What is Northwest's Laptop Return Policy?

Students must return their laptop computers to the ECSC before or on the last day of finals week or within 5 business days of withdrawing from the University.

The latest the campus laptop computer may be returned without being charged a replacement fee is the first business day after finals week. Failure to return your campus laptop computer will result in a $1,500 replacement cost fine.

If for some reason you cannot return your laptop computer by the first business day following finals week, contact the Northwest Technology Service Center at 660.562.1634 to make special arrangements for returning your laptop computer on an approved day.

Do I have to return my Northwest-issued laptop during the summer?

If you are pre-registered for classes in either summer or fall, you do not have to return your Northwest-issued laptop. 

If you are not taking summer classes and are pre-registered for fall classes, you will be charged a summer rental fee of $75, which will appear on your University bill.

If you are not pre-registered for summer or fall classes, you must return your Northwest-issued laptop at the end of the spring term.  Failure to return your campus laptop computer will result in a $1,500 replacement cost fine.

Northwest-issued Laptop Care/Security

How do I care for my Northwest-issued Laptop?

Protecting your university-provided laptop computer from damage and theft is important. Here are some guidelines:
  • Carry your laptop computer in a backpack/tote that is made for a laptop computer. A purse or regular backpack does not have adequate padding and the laptop computer can be damaged if dropped.
  • Keep sticky or runny foods away from your laptop computer. Such foods may permanently damage your laptop computer keyboard or other delicate components and most warranties do not cover such damage.
  • Keep open drink containers away from your laptop computer. Soda and other beverages can cause keyboard keys to stick or become inoperable. Other damage to delicate components may also result from such spillage and most warranties do not cover such damage.
  • Use a surge protector if you are going to keep your laptop computer hooked up to an electrical outlet, particularly if your computer is turned on. An electrical surge may not hurt it one time, but continued surges could potentially damage it and lose all of your critical data.
  • If at all possible do not leave your laptop computer in a cold environment. Condensation, when you return it to a warm environment, could cause the circuitry to short out. If it has been exposed to a cold environment, always let it warm up before turning it on.
  • Do not leave your laptop computer unattended in a classroom or other area.
  • Do not leave the laptop computer in your car where it is visible.
  • Do not check it as baggage when flying, but take it on as a carry-on.
  • Do not try to repair your laptop computer or open it up to see inside or add components. You may inadvertently cause more damage by your lack of knowledge.
  • If a key or keys come off of your laptop computer do not try to repair yourself. Do not use glue on the keyboard! Key replacement is usually FREE of charge at the Northwest Technology Service Center (NTSC) unless the whole keyboard is damaged or vandalism is involved.
  • Do not color (markers, crayons, etc.) the keys on your laptop computer keyboard.
  • Do not stick stickers on the exterior of your laptop computer that cannot be easily removed by you without damage to the laptop computer.
  • Do not have your laptop repaired other than at the NTSC. All repairs to campus-issued laptop computers must be done at the Jon T. Rickman Electronic Campus Support Center (ECSC) building.
  • If you drop your laptop computer into water or spill liquid on the keyboard by accident take the laptop computer immediately to the NTSC. If a spill is taken care of immediately, the laptop computer and keyboard can be cleaned and dried (preventing sticky and non-working keys and non-functioning components) without a problem. Repair is also usually FREE of charge unless major damage or vandalism is involved.

How should I clean my Northwest-issued laptop?

To clean the LCD screen, use LCD screen solution, eyeglass cleaning solution, or 1 part isopropyl alcohol and 1 part water (50/50 solution). Do not apply solution directly to screen, but pour onto a soft clean, white cloth and then apply to your LCD Screen.

To clean the keyboard, use a soft, clean, white cloth, cotton swabs and a can of compressed air. Do not spray cleaning solutions onto keyboard. A 1 part isopropyl alcohol and 1 part water (50/50) solution is all that is needed. Do not spray or pour the solution directly onto keyboard. Pour a small amount on a cloth, squeeze out excess, and gently apply the cloth to the keyboard. Use cotton swabs and compressed air to clean between the keys. Turn the keyboard upside down and gently shake to dislodge any particles stuck between keys.

Am I responsible for backing up my personal files on my Northwest-issued laptop?

The Office of Information Technology and the Northwest Technology Service Center (NTSC) are not responsible for supporting or backing up personal files on university-provided laptop computers. The user is solely responsible for backing up (copying) personal files to an alternative storage device.

Alternative storage devices are not provided by the NTSC or the Office of Information Technology. The user is entirely responsible for purchasing such a device with personal funds. Such devices include, but are not limited to, USB Flash drive and CD/DVD. 

Northwest students, faculty, staff and University-approved organizations have OneDrive file storage with their Northwest Email accounts.

Northwest-issued Damages and Fees

Since Northwest began providing laptop computers for students, an average of 7 laptop computers per year have been reported stolen from rooms and vehicles. Although theft is rare and occurred primarily off-campus and outside Maryville city limits, students need to take reasonable measures to protect their laptop computer.

Am I responsible for damage to my Northwest-issued Laptop?

Students are responsible for repairs for their laptop computer with financial responsibility determined by severity of damage. In a typical year, about 150 repairs result in the student being billed for the damage.

The most common non-warranty repairs were broken LCD screens ($50 charge), lost AC adapter ($25) and repairs resulting from liquid spills that corrode and short out internal circuits ($50 charge).

In most cases (depending on circumstances involved with the damage), students are not billed for the full cost of repair unless the laptop computer sustained major damage due to vandalism or obvious abuse, or was lost or stolen.

While you can add decorative or personal stickers to your Northwest-issued laptop, you are responsible for removing those stickers and adhesive residue prior to returning the laptop to Northwest.  Failure to remove the stickers and adhesive will result in a $10 charge.  The Northwest ID sticker must remain intact and not damaged.

What happens if my Northwest-issued laptop has major damage or is lost or stolen?

Students are financially responsible in full for major damage, loss, or theft of the campus-issued laptop computer up to $1500.00 and will be billed accordingly.

What should I do if my laptop is lost or stolen?

  • Immediately file a police report if your campus-issued laptop computer is lost or stolen.
  • Filing a report and providing that report to the Northwest Technology Service Center will result in a refund if the laptop computer is recovered and may reduce financial liability.
  • Report the loss or theft to the Northwest Technology Service Center.
  • Under most circumstances, you will be issued another Northwest laptop to ensure you continue to succeed academically regardless of the loss or theft.

Northwest-issued Laptop Insurance

Does Northwest provide insurance for my Northwest-issued laptop?

No!  While manufacturing defects are covered by the vendor and normal "every-day wear-and-tear" hardware and software repair is free of charge at the Northwest Technology Service Center, Northwest does not provide additional coverage to protect your campus-issued laptop from damage, loss or theft.

Where can I get additional insurance for my Northwest-issued laptop?

For major laptop computer damage, vandalism or theft, students are encouraged to purchase liability insurance from an insurance provider of your choice.  

Three such vendors of which we are aware are listed below and will cover other personal equipment brought to campus such as TVs, personal computers, gaming consoles, etc:

Does Northwest endorse any particular insurance provider?

No!  Northwest does not endorse any provider and encourages students and their parents to research the best option for their needs.

Any Questions?



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