I think funding for the iPad pilot project ultimately came from a donation to the College, although I'm not 100% certain. Donations and bequests from alumni and friends of the College are critical in endowing scholarships, providing for new buildings, and exploring new educational initiatives such as the iPad pilot. However, I suspect that if the program goes ahead for all Foundation Studies students from 2011/2012, then the cost of the iPads will be incorporated into the tuition fees.
Actually, TFA badly summarises the original report, which was written for an internal audience, and therefore made assumptions about the understanding of Trinity's course structures.
The trial was for a small group of international students, the Foundation Studies "August Entry 2010" intake. Staff involved in Foundation Studies (and not staff in the rest of the College) will get iPads in 2011. And starting with the "August Entry 2011" intake, all Foundation Studies students (who are international students) will get iPads. There's no government funding involved in any of this.
There's been no discussion of the mandated use of iPads in the Residential College or Theological School, which are the other two main educational units of Trinity College.
A further complication is that the trial involved Foundation Studies students, who are international students who do a ~10 month bridging program taught by Trinity College before attending university, and who don't actually live at Trinity.
Trinity College is a private institution and receives no government funding. But in the case of the trial, the students were indeed given the iPads, but they returned them at the end of the program, and they paid nothing extra in their fees.
(I may work for Trinity College, but I don't speak for them.)