Monday, March 8, 2010

Technology fee to increase for 2010-11

Cardinal Staff

The Saint Mary’s University technology fee will increase by $10 for the 2010-11 academic year.

The technology fee was $310 last year and will increase to $320 next year. Cindy Marek, vice president for Financial Affairs, said the fee has been increasing since it began. The fee was started almost 10 years ago at around $250 and continues to increase every few years.

“We don’t consider that a huge increase,” said Marek. Technology fees, along with general funds from the university, contribute to the kind of technology available to students at SMU. Hardware pricing for computers has been reasonable and has gone down, according to Marek.

“Computers (for Saint Mary’s) were around $2,000 to $2,500 and now average around $1,500” said Marek. Other items the technology fee supports include the usage of wireless Internet, Tegrity, video conferencing, ELMO, and the payment of HelpDesk workers. Some of the main expenses go toward software and large, extended contracts for using the software. With the software come additional features, applications and improvements, which can get pricey, Marek said.

“There has been an increase in the amount of needs (among students), and the expectations are much higher” said Marek. The computers used by the students are updated more often than those for the staff. Meeting the academic needs of the students in the labs and classrooms has been part of a greater focus.

The technological advances have even served as a recruiting tactic for prospective students. A statement sent out by the Admissions Office is expected to come out around March, and this will inform students and parents of the decision that was approved by the Board of Trustees at the end of September.

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