The Mac operating system has made gains on Windows since 2003.

Survey: Mac use growing on campus

Twenty-four percent of student laptops are made by Dell, and 15 percent are made by Hewlett Packard, according to the Student Monitor research.

And like the Group Logic survey, Student Monitor’s results indicated that a sharp increase in Mac use is on the way in higher education. Nearly half of student respondents planning to buy a laptop said they planned on purchasing a Mac.

In 2005, only 14 percent of college students said they would buy a Mac laptop, and about half said they would purchase a Dell, according to Student Monitor.

The most-used operating system on campuses remains Windows, although the popularity of the Mac operating system has steadily increased in recent years. In 2003, more than 2,500 institutions used Windows, while about 200 used the Mac operating system, according to the Student Monitor report.

By 2008, more than 1,100 colleges and universities were using the Mac operating system—compared with about 2,000 using Windows—and in 2009, the gap closed even more. About 1,400 institutions used the Mac operating system last year, and 1,700 used Windows.

Lewis said campus IT administrators should expect a steady increase in Mac use among students for the next few years, since the product’s popularity is clearly not driven by persuasive ad campaigns alone.

“If [Macs] were cool and not useful, you wouldn’t see the continued growth of it,” Lewis said. “You would see it get to a certain level, then stop. … And that hasn’t happened.”