STEP FAQs

How do I participate in this program, and is there a cost?

Access is free for UC Berkeley undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. Complete this application to be considered.

When is the application deadline?

STEP is accepting applications on a rolling basis throughout the 2020-2021 academic year, while supplies last.  To get a device in time for the start of instruction in Fall 2020, applicants had to apply by the priority deadline of July 15, 2020.  However, devices will continue to be mailed multiple times each week to students found eligible.  

How and when do I find out if I'll be receiving a device from this program?

After students submit an application, they receive an immediate email confirmation and a receipt showing their complete form submission.  Next, STEP  verifies that the student meets eligibility requirements and that the device(s) that meets their needs are available.  This process can take 10-12 days.  All students who applied to STEP before the July 15, 2020 priority deadline got a confirmation email in early August, 2020.  

When might I receive a device?

The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting supply chains and delivery times. We are doing our best to meet students' technology needs expediently. Students who applied by July 15, 2020 and who met our eligibility criteria are having devices shipped to them so that they are delivered in time for the start of Fall 2020 instruction. After that, we will mail students devices in batches shipped multiple times weekly until our inventory is exhausted.  We also offer curbside pickup, per the table below.  

Can you send devices internationally?

No, we ship only within the United States, and we cannot ship to US territories.  

Do you offer curbside pickup? 

Yes, students can opt to pick up a device via curbside pickup in Eshleman Hall's lobby. Students queue up in Lower Sproul Plaza. Social distancing, wearing a face covering, and other COVID-19 safety precautions must be observed at all times. Please note that if the air quality index surpasses 150, we may temporarily suspend pickup until the air quality improves. Service updates and additional curbside pickup dates throughout the year will be added below as they are scheduled.  Currently scheduled curbside pickup dates are as follows:

Date and Time Items Available 
Laptops
Hotspots

Drawing Tablets

Webcams

Microphones

Headphones

Tues, October 15, 

2 pm - 5 pm

Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Thurs, November 5, 

2 pm - 5 pm

Yes No No Yes Yes Yes

Thurs, December 3, 

2 pm - 5 pm

Yes TBD TBD Yes Yes Yes

Who can I reach out to with questions? 

Please send questions to ucbstep@berkeley.edu.

Does STEP offer office hours?

Yes, please see the schedule below for confidential one-on-one Zoom-based office hours staffed by a STEP team member. Office hours are offered throughout the course of the year on an ongoing basis. Please select the link of each individual team member to see their availability and schedule and appointment:

Brittnee Meitzenheimer, STEP Program Coordinator

Luz Contreras Corona, STEP Program Associate

Jenny McNulty, Student Technology Fund (STF) Analyst


What other equipment is available?

Part of the application will allow you to inform us of any other equipment you may need for your studies (e.g. headphone, webcam, stand alone microphone, etc.). These items will be considered based on instructional need.

Do I get to choose which device I get?

Students will receive a device(s) from our inventory below.  We will contact you individually if it is not possible to provide these options and we must offer something else.  

Devices

Loan Duration

Availability

Specs and Start Up / Service  

MiFi Hotspot:
Moxee, served by AT&T
Up to May 2021 Available now SPECS
Hardware and free unlimited data service plan available. For students living in AT&T service area only. 

START UP / SERVICE

The device comes active. To set it up:

1) Power on the device
2) Press the button at the top,
3) It will switch screens and show the SSID WiFi number and password.
4) Following the instructions on the screen.

For more information, see this guide. For technology support, call AT&T at 1-800-999-5445 and ask for Advanced Technical Support.  AT&T will verify each student's identity and contact UC Berkeley Telecom to confirm that the student is a STEP recipient before service can be provided.

Laptop: 
Lenovo ThinkPad E495 14" Ryzen 7
Up to 4 years Available now

SPECS
Comprehensive info on Lenovo ThinkPad E495 14" Ryzen 7

  • Processor: Ryzen 7
  • Operating System: Windows 10 Pro 64bit English, French, Spanish
  • RAM:16GB 
  • Hard Drive: 512GB SSD
  • Built-in webcam and microphone

START UP / SERVICE

  • 4 Year accidental damage protection and Lenovo Premier Support available, 7 am - 8 pm Eastern at 855-669-3600
Drawing Tablet:
One by Wacom, Creative Pen Tablet
Up to 4 years Available now

SPECS

  • 6.0 x 3.7" Active Area
  • 4096 Levels of Pressure Sensitivity
  • USB Connectivity
  • 4 Programmable ExpressKeys
  • Pressure-Sensitive, Battery-Free Pen
  • Includes Free Downloadable Software
  • Windows & Mac Compatible
  • Color: Black

START UP / SERVICE

  • Limited one-year warranty
External Microphone: 
THRONMAX Mdrill Zero Plus USB Mic
Up to 4 years Available now

SPECS

  • For Streaming, Podcasts & More96 kHz / 24-Bit 
  • Resolution USB Mic
  • Omnidirectional & Cardioid Polar Pattern
  • 3.5mm Headphone Output
  • Driverless Operation with Mac & Windows
  • Works with Linux & PS4
  • Integrated Stand & Included USB Cable
External Microphone: 
THRONMAX Pulse M8 USB Mic
Up to 4 years Available now

SPECS

  • For Streaming, Podcasts & More
  • 96 kHz / 24-Bit Resolution USB Mic
  • Omnidirectional & Cardioid Polar Pattern
  • Noise Cancellation, Volume Knob & Mute
  • Zero Latency Monitoring
  • Driverless Operation with Mac & Window
  • Works with Linux & PS4
  • USB Type-C Connector & Headphone Jack
  • Included Tabletop Stand & USB Cable
  • Standard 1/4" Threading for Cameras
External Microphone: 
Audio-Technica AT2005USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Mic
Up to 4 years Available now

SPECS

  • USB & XLR Outputs 

  • Headphone Monitoring Output
  • Extended Frequency Response
  • 16-Bit, 44.1 / 48 kHz Converters
  • Includes Tripod Desk Stand
  • Mac & Windows OS
External Microphone: 
NEMICWADU Mic
Up to 4 years Available now

SPECS

  • For Skype, Podcasts, Voice-Overs & Music
  • Custom Shock-Mounted Capsule
  • Full-Range 24-Bit/96 kHz Audio
  • 20 Hz to 20 kHz Frequency Response
  • Integrated Internal Pop Filter
  • Includes Internal Shockmount
  • Height Adjustable
  • Compatible with Mac or Windows Computers
Webcam:
Adesso CyberTrack H2
Up to 4 years Shipping

SPECS

  • Color web cam
  • Pixels: 300,000
  • Built-in microphone
  • Video format: MJPEG, YUV2
  • Video resolution: 
    640 x 480
  • Frames per second: 30
  • Video mode: 480p 
  • Connectivity Technology: wired
  • Computer Interface: USB 2.0
  • Features: Saturation control, Exposure control, Skype compatible, White balance, Contrast control, Acutance
Webcam: 
HDWC-WA101 Full HD Wide-Angle Webcam XCHDWCWA101
Up to 4 years  Available now

SPECS

  • Full HD 1080p Resolution at 30 fps

  • 2.0MP CMOS Image Sensor (1/2.7")
  • Auto Focus with 84° Field of View
  • 360° Omnidirectional Microphone
  • Integrated Ballhead
  • Auto White Balance, Low Light Correction
  • Focus Range: 2.8" to Infinity
  • Plug-and-Play via USB 2.0 Type-A
  • Windows, Mac, Android, Chrome, and Linux
Headphones: 
Kensington USB Hi-Fi
Up to 4 years Available now

SPECS

  • Mac, Windows, Chrome OS compatible
  • On-ear, wired
  • Sound Output Mode: Stereo
  • Sensitivity: 94 decibel
  • Diaphragm Diameter: 1.6 inch
  • Color: Black
  • Noise-cancelling - uses passive resistance tech to filter out ambient noise

Does the University offer tech support?

Student Technology Services provides tech support for all students Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm. Contact sts-help@berkeley.edu or 510-642-HELP.  Some hardware offered through STEP also has a service plan with a private vendor.  See the table above for more information.

How do I get tech support for a STEP-provided device?  

For laptops, contact Lenovo Premier Support at 855-669-3600.  For AT&T hotspots, call AT&T at 1-800-999-5445 and ask for Advanced Technical Support.  AT&T will verify each student's identity and contact UC Berkeley Telecom to confirm that the student is a STEP recipient. For other devices, contact Student Tech Services, as described above.  If the problem cannot be resolved, please inform STEP at ucbstep@berkeley.edu so that we can try to help find a solution such as replacing the device.

When and how should I return my device?

Students should return any hardware loaned through STEP either within two weeks of their graduation or within four years of the loan date, whichever is sooner. If a student fails to make satisfactory academic progress, they are also required to return the device. The device return procedure is routinely evolving due to COVID-19; please email ucbstep@berkeley.edu to arrange return.

I am not returning to campus.  Can you mail me a device?

STEP will mail students devices at addresses within the US, but cannot ship to US territories nor internationally.

I live in campus housing.  Can I get a hotspot? 

Students living in campus housing are not eligible for a hotspot, with the exception of those residing in University Village. Please contact the Student Technology Services Helpdesk with questions about internet access. The Helpdesk  is available Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., by phone and email (510-642-HELP, sts-help@berkeley.edu).

Where can I learn about STEP's own program assessment? 

STEP publishes aggregated data on its applicant pool in real time.  Additional analysis on distribution progress, program outcomes, and more are forthcoming.  Learn about STEP's own program assessment here.