The survey was collected from fairly large institutions, averaging about 16,500 students. On average, 31 percent of students and 24 percent of faculty are currently using Macs on campus. An August report by Student Monitor stated that 27 percent of laptops found on campus were Macs, 24 percent were made by Dell, and 15 percent were Hewlett Packards, easily giving Apple the lion's share of the Higher Education laptop market. The study also found that nearly half of students in the market for a laptop said that they would buy a Mac. Compare that with a survey done in 2005, where only 14 percent of students queried were interested in a Mac laptop, and about half said they were buying a Dell.
Windows is still the most prevalent operating system, but the gap is closing. Student Monitor reported that in 2003, over 2500 institutions were using Windows, while only 200 used Macs. By 2008, the gap closed dramatically, with about 2000 institutions using Windows and 1100 using Macs; only a year later, 1700 schools were using Windows compared to 1400 using Macs.
What wasn't mentioned in any survey (and seemed a rather obvious thing to leave out): the "halo effect." A major motivating factor in students buying Macs is that so many of them have iPods, iPhones, or iPads and have been impressed by them, making Macs a much easier sell.