The iPad Exchange Process

Starting Wednesday, May 16th

Why an iPad Exchange?

You might be asking yourself, I just received this iPad Pro two years ago, why am I being asked to turn it in when we normally keep them for 4 years.  That is a great question. Since we began the iPad 1 to 1 program in 2012, one of the goals has always been the same:  Outfitting all of 3rd through 12th-grade students with an iPad that is on a 4-year refresh cycle.  We were extremely blessed that in 2016 we were able to afford to refresh to the iPad Pro 9.7″ device.  This device not only received upgrades with a larger hard drive and more RAM to increase the speed, but it also integrated the first Apple Pencil that we felt was going to enhance the experience that much more in the classroom.

However, the price point at $579 (which is what we paid per iPad) was a steep cost to the school.  Therefore, as a school, we needed to wait until we could find a device that had a cheaper price point but still integrated the pencil for students in 3rd through 8th grade.  Last year, Apple released a cheaper iPad at $379 but that device didn’t integrate the pencil and we felt it was still too early to adopt a device for 4 years and not be able to integrate the pencil.

Well, the wait has been long enough!  Apple has announced at the education summit in April that the new iPad 6 would not only have an internal upgrade but also integrate the pencil and add augmented reality chips to the internal components.  You can check out what the iPad will be able to do here:

In addition to the upgraded components, the price point has also come down for education.  The new price point is $299 per iPad.  This lead to the opportunity that we took advantage of right now and will explain in detail below.

How is this cost effective?

You might be asking yourself, how does a drop in price justify a refresh?  Another great question!  In order to answer this, we will give you a sneak peek into how we purchase our technology on a large scale.  When we started the Apple Distinguished School journey, one of the benchmarks from Apple was to ensure “Institutional Sustainability”.  There are many factors that Apple gives schools on how to achieve this, but one of the big factors we are evaluated on is, “Does TFA have a plan to ensure a timely refresh?” They do this so that as a school, we don’t get to the end of the 4th or 5th year and then we don’t have the money saved to purchase devices again and students are stuck using out of dated technology.  In order for TFA to ensure a timely refresh, we determined that using a 4-year lease model with a $1 buyout is the best method for us to be stewards of the money entrusted to us AND provide the best educational experience for our students.

Currently, we are finishing our 2nd lease year.  Meaning that we have 2 more years of payments to Apple for the equipment we already have in hand.  Well, there was an option for us called an Equity Buyback Program where we would turn our equipment in early to a hardware reseller.  The hardware reseller gives a cash-out payment for the devices we are currently leasing and we hand that over that cash-out to Apple to finish our current lease and then any remainder would be rolled into starting a new 4-year lease with the new devices we are purchasing.  Long story short, we are able to turn in 600 iPads costing about $579 a piece (both teacher and US student iPads) and purchase 950 iPads costing around $299 a piece next year with only raising our monthly lease payments a couple of hundred dollars and still stay on budget.  This will ensure that every 4th-grade student through 12th-grade student will have the same access to new technology every 4 years.

What’s the catch?

Very perceptive of you.  Yes, there is always a catch.  Here are the following items we had to “concede” to make this exchange work:

  1. We have to have every device turned in, deactivated out of Apple School Manager, cleaned and boxed for pick-up by May 30th.  (No excuses or the reseller will not give us the price that is quoted to us because after each month, items depreciate in value.)
  2. We have to turn in every charging brick and cable as well for the 600 original iPads.  But instead of having to turn yours in, we feel that giving them the new ones will protect our investment to the reseller as we have many that have already broken or lost their new ones 2 years ago.  (Those are equipment on the lease) so if you have some extras you wouldn’t mind donating, that would help the cause!  They will not accept 3rd party charging bricks or cables, only Apple branded ones.
  3. The new iPad does NOT have the magnetic keyboard connector.  ARGH! This is probably the biggest loss of swapping to the new device.  Many students do not use the current keyboard option, however, we do have about 60 students that have purchased Smart Keyboards and, therefore, we will answer that question in the FAQ’s section.  But for now, we do not have a way for you to use your Smart Keyboard with the new iPad 6.  We are truly sorry.

Get Started Today – Ready to turn in your device?  Click here to schedule a time! 

  1. Click on the calendar to schedule your appointment time to turn in your iPad
  2. Make sure you have run a valid backup in iCloud.
  3. Ensure your device has at LEAST 15% charge in order for us to remove your Apple ID and Find My iPad from the device.
  4. Ensure you have your Apple ID username (email) and password at the appointment (Please test this if you are unsure if it’s correct).
  5. Have payment ready if you have damage to your device and don’t have Accidental Damage Coverage.  Not sure if you paid for coverage this year? Check your email from for the coverage you selected back in August or September.


Frequently Asked Questions

Have an iPad Exchange question? We’ve got answers. But if we’ve missed something shoot us an email at and we’ll likely add it to the list!


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