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I am in college studying software development and working towards my college degree thanks to the United States of America Veterans Administration Vocational Rehabilitation program called Chapter 31. My old original Macbook Pro is near dead and no longer upgradable on the software or hardware side. The VA has offered to purchase a PC laptop for me (Because my syllabi says computer required), but I do not want to go backwards. I have a lot invested in OS X software and Mac peripherals, not to mention I prefer to program in that environment. PC vs. Mac costs are so drastically different that I must validate my request for a new Macbook Pro. In my request to the VA, I stated the above and some other topics but they requested more validation. Can anyone recommend issues, reasons, etc. to help me validate this purchase by the VA for school?

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It would be helpful to other participants here (who are from many countries all around the world) if you could explain what "VA Chap 31" means. – user9290 Sep 19 '12 at 0:01
Oh, that is a good point sorry for my rudeness. VA Chap 31 is short for Veterans Administration Vocational Rehabilitation. – David Sep 19 '12 at 2:21
No, you're not being rude, David! And welcome to AskDifferent. – user9290 Sep 19 '12 at 2:35
@David, if they deny you, contact your local congressman. It may sound petty, but that's what they're there for. Your congressman's office has incredible pull in the V.A. – Tom Marthenal Sep 19 '12 at 3:15
up vote 4 down vote accepted

I'm only guessing here, but would it be helpful if you told the program that you intend to study iOS (iPhone and iPad) development? Is there a class in iOS development offered at your school? You can only develop for iOS using Xcode on a Mac. That way you could make the case that you require a Mac and not a Windows PC to do your coursework.

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It's hard to give a definitive answer without knowing the ins and outs of the process, but my advice is to give as much "hard" evidence for why this is the better option. Saying you work better under OS X is all well and good (and certainly you don't have to sell that argument around here), but I suspect you'll get better results with a bureaucracy by giving them information that they can point to as objectively better.

In your case, the most objective figure I can think of would be to figure out the replacement value of your investment in Mac software and peripherals. Compile a list of all your current software and hardware that you could bring over to a new Mac, and then do some research and come up with an estimated cost to replace all that on a Windows PC. If you're in a software development program, also keep in mind that Xcode is free, while Visual Studio is hundreds of dollars (although it may be included in a site license for students in your program).

You might also want to try contacting some of the faculty and see if there are any who would be willing to write a letter to the effect that a Mac is better suited for your program.

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I would add that you should call or visit your local apple store and arrange a discussion of how the Mac value stacks against a PC when you consider free support, free and inexpensive training programs and you can further discuss your specific needs. Apple staff are not on commission and clearly advocate for Mac, but also have great experience and may even have a contact with the VA or can get your email to a government rep for Apple. You can't be the only veteran looking for a Mac. Lastly they can assist you with determining if a govt/ military/education discount can lessen your cost. – bmike Sep 19 '12 at 3:08
@bmike I think you should make this an answer rather than just a comment – Mark Sep 19 '12 at 12:30
I'll wait and see how @canuckskier feels about just incorporating it into his already good answer. Might one longer collaborative answer be better than a bunch of parts? – bmike Sep 19 '12 at 12:52

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