They now have the Thunderbolt to Ethernet adapter ( something like $29 I believe) that should take care of this too. Once you plug it in, she may need some help from school configuring it under System Preferences > Network but behave similar to a regular ethernet connection at that point:
Here's an article that explains all the available Thunderbolt cables and adapters:
Hope that helps.
thanks for your help - got a thunderbolt to ethernet adaptor which seems to do the trick. Cost £25 in the UK (which is more like $40) - so (as usual) a bit of a rip off by Apple in the UK compared to the US !
is the thunderbolt to ethernet the best way of doing this, or would a USB to ethernet work the same / better ?
Conscious she only has one thunderbolt port so if she needed to use for something else - might be a problem ?
That said - not sure what the thunderbolt port would be used for ?
Well the thing about Thunderbolt is it's a platform that allows for wide range of other connectors to be attached, and it has very high transfer speeds when connected to other devices directly. You can get all sorts of things like usb, ethernet, firewire, hdmi to connect through a Thunderbolt port.
Also devices with Thunderbolt ports like displays and external hard drives can be connected through this port ( still pretty expensive though).
Thunderbolt isn't widely used still, and most peripherals for university students will be USB based. So keeping USB ports clear for items like printers, hard drives, thumb drives, etc would probably be more beneficial to her.
Lastly, the USB to ethernet adapter is 100Mbps, while the Thunderbolt to Ethernet is 1000Mbps(Gigabit Ethernet). So using that one if the university has Gigabit ethernet speeds will allow for faster internet speeds. If they just have 100Mbps it'll handle that fine too and keep the USB ports open.