Sunday, October 24, 2021

Tech fee increase proposed for next year

Adeeb Chowdhury

Proposals for an increased 2021-22 Educational Technology fee as well as the optional Green Fee were presented during the SA meeting March 13.

Dean of Library and Information Technology Services Holly Heller-Ross, presented the proposal for the 2021-22 Educational Technology fee. This is a semester or credit-hour fee contributed to by all students, whether they are on or off campus, full or part-time, and face-to-face or online.

“This fee is essential because it funds campus technology services that directly impact students every single day,” Heller-Ross said. “There are so many investments going on behind the scenes.”

Examples of services funded by the Educational Technology fee include Moodle, DUO security, network services, wireless access, computer labs, staff salaries for student services, student employee salaries, anti-virus protection and sometimes public space furniture in the Feinberg Library, among many others.

Heller-Ross proposed an $11.30 annual fee increase, from the current amount of $425.00 to $436.30 for the 2021-22 year, if the proposal is eventually approved by the SA. This constitutes an increase of 2.6%.

At its current amount, SUNY Plattsburgh ranks fifth lowest among SUNY Comprehensive Colleges in terms of the Educational Technology fee. The proposed amount of $436 will still be near the average of $431. Currently, SUNY Purchase requires the highest fee at $533, and SUNY Buffalo State the lowest at $364.

Heller-Ross pointed out that the fee increase is necessitated by rising technology and library database costs as well as new initiatives being planned for the next year.

“We acquired many more loaner laptops and Chromebooks than originally planned,” Heller-Ross said during the presentation. “We are building back lab and classroom, networking and server replacement reserve accounts.”

New projects for 2021-22 include “campus computers, continued security and authentication improvements, upgraded technology in classrooms, the continuation of Cardinal Star in the Ed Tech budget, and the addition of an e-forms project to help with anytime anywhere submission of campus forms such as course adjustment,” as per the presentation.

Certain measures were also taken to control costs. No increases were allocated for travel or supplies, and no funding was set aside for faculty innovation projects. All available SUNY and state contracts were used for software pricing reductions, and computers were recycled whenever possible.

SA Vice President Jennifer Stanton also delivered a presentation on the Green Fee, prepared by herself and Associate Professor of Sociology Dr. Lauren Eastwood. This is an optional $3 fee that students can select to pay each semester and is used to support grants offered by the Campus Committee for Environmental Responsibility.

“[The CCER] currently has folks from maintenance and operations, faculty who teach courses related to environmental issues, students who are active on campus, folks in positions that understand finances and more,” Stanton said.

The Green Fee is used to fund a grant made available to finance projects to enact and encourage eco-friendly initiatives on campus, the proposals for which are submitted by students. Previous projects funded by the CCER include bike fixing and car charging stations on campus, funding for compost coalition workers and supplies for the campus garden.



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