Dell is taking forever to ship their Inspirons, so I wouldn't go with that.
Here are some options I looked at:
Best Buy and Circuit City have pretty good prices that are constantly changing.
NewEgg.com is a great site with SUPER fast shipping. I chose mine there- a refurbished for only $500- really nice too!
Dell Outlet has some good deals..
HP is good too.
I wouldn't spend $1000 for one just for school. You only need the high-end ones if he's going to be doing some serious gaming- which I don't think you'll want him to have his mind on during school! I would look for one in the $700-$850 price range new, or $500-$700 refurbed.
I need to buy a laptop for my son before he goes to college next week.
I've given up trying to keep up with the newest technology and would like to get one for under $1,000. Comments and recommendations appreciated. Thanks...G