Monday, November 23, 2020

SA urged to increase tech fees

Wednesday night’s Student Association meeting saw a presentation by Holly Heller-Ross, dean of library and information services, outlining the proposal to increase the educational technology fee.

The proposed increase of $7.25 would be a universal broad based tuition increase. Currently students pay $363 for education technology, the proposal increases the fee by approximately two percent, raising the final amount to $370 annually.

Along with the proposed rate hike, SA President Vrinda Kumar, with assistance from Dean Heller-Ross, requested additional allocations for the purchase of phone chargers that would become available to rent out for students via the library information desk.

The rate hike has been proposed due to several factors that have resulted in a necessity to supplement the current education technology budget. Heller-Ross cited various circumstances such as inflationary increases and a declining student enrollment. Programs that will be supplemented by the rate hike include, but are not limited to, smart classrooms, computer labs, programs such as Moodle and Banner Web, library research, print quotas and public space furniture. Following the inevitable approval of the rate hikes, Heller-Ross elaborated on the potential future programs that will be enabled, with projects such as the expansion of wireless access in the Angel College Center, Flynn, and Fieldhouse buildings.

In comparison to fellow SUNY establishments, Plattsburgh State’s educational technology budget is ranked at the bottom fourth in the list.

The largest portion of the educational technology budget is allocated to provide shared SUNY online packages. These shared SUNY wide packages are the services provided within MyPlattsburgh, Banner Web, Moodle, Cardinal Cloud Email, Degreeworks, and Career Development Cardinal Connect, all of which are housed through servers off campus, servers such that PSUC cannot independently maintain at an efficient cost.

Following the conclusion of Heller-Ross’ presentation, various senators voiced their support of the rate hike, specifically Senator Danish Rai expressed his support of the rate hike, commenting, “I totally agree on the increase, I think the increasing cost is not too much to bother students.”

Budget cuts, a primary factor in creating the necessity for the rate hikes, have also resulted in the reduction of various programs, such as academic grants (suffering a reduction of $5,000) as well as the delay of furniture renovations and replacements (a program that would’ve potentially cost roughly $10,000).

Heller-Ross emphasised that the budget cuts and rate hikes will not affect work study as she bluntly stated, “[the administration of PSUC] Doesn’t intend to cut work study hours.”

The Senate did not vote to approve or reject the proposed rate increases, the presentation only served to educate the Student Association in the details and context in which the necessity for the increase has emerged. Voting on this subject will occur within the upcoming weeks.

Email Kyle Welling at news@cardinalpointsonline.com

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