Villanova University is higher education's high-tech hotspot, claiming the No. 1 ranking in a new list of "Top 20 Wired Colleges."
The school, in suburban Philadelphia, tops the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Indiana University in the rankings, a joint project of PC Magazine and The Princeton Review, a college advising and test-prep company.
About 240 colleges responded to the survey, which asked about such topics as availability of online learning, faculty computer training, music downloading policies, and hardware and software provided to students.
At Villanova, first-year students are given laptops — and replacements after their sophomore year. Nursing students get personal digital assistants, and engineers get tablet PCs. Over the Internet, students can register for classes, download lectures, take exams and get grades. Tech-support calls are guaranteed a response within 24 hours.
No. 2 MIT boasts its own operating system and open courseware available via the Web to educators and students around the world. No. 3 Indiana boasts the country's fastest university-owned supercomputer and largest disk-based storage facility.
Those schools were followed by Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania and Creighton University in Nebraska, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Michigan Technological University, University of Southern California, Quinnipiac University in Connecticut and the University of Oklahoma.
The list and profiles appear in the PC Magazine issue hitting newsstands Dec. 26 and on its Web site on Saturday.