Dell Inc. and America Online Inc. announced a partnership Sept. 27 to provide 5,000 low-income students with free refurbished personal computers and a year's worth of internet access.

Company founder Michael Dell and AOL chairman and chief executive Jonathan Miller said the free equipment gives disadvantaged middle-school students the edge they'll need to compete in today's high-tech work environment.

The equipment is offered to qualified school districts through Dell's "TechKnow" education program. To qualify, students must complete a 40-hour after-school program, where they learn how to take apart and rebuild

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