Students face technology purchasing pressures

iPad mini: $329. MacBook Pro: $1299. Kindle Fire HD: $199. Consumers seem to be spending more and more on technology to become successful professionals.

With rumors of a cheaper plastic iPhone the Wall Street Journal leaked in late January, students are more aware about the money they spend on technology. However, some are divided on how much money is spent on technology and the university’s technology fee, to be successful.

Rod Sievers, university spokesman, said the school’s technology fee is used for a variety of items.

“It costs nearly $15 million to operate the entire campus computer infrastructure,” he said. “The technology fee covers about $2 million of this cost.”

The fee also supports campus- wide Internet access, SalukiNet and Desire2Learn support, upgrades to

outdated computer equipment as well as future campus-wide upgrades, Sievers said.

While every student pays this fee, Sievers said the amount can and does vary. Along with the technology cost, he said additional costs could come from personal equipment students deem necessary for academic success.

As far as student purchases, Sievers said the university has no set amount it expects students to spend to be successful.

“All students are free to determine what their personal technology needs might be,” he said. “Individual technology needs may well depend on the course of study.”

Sievers said the university charges an average of $82.50 per semester based on 12 credit hours, whereas comparable universities such as Northern Illinois University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign charge an average of $233 for the same amount of credit hours.

However, the increase in students’ technology use begins even before they

enter college. Kelly Cummins, technology services

director, said students face increased pressure to use the latest technology.

“I think because of this exposure to technology at a continually younger age, students may have more pressure to have that same level of technology when they go to college,” he said. “Many K-12 school districts are starting to implement better technology in the classroom.”

However, Cummins said students should not feel they have to bridge a gap between what they can afford and what they feel they need to succeed.

“It is our job at the university to help provide this technology for the students to use and help prepare them for after they graduate,” he said.

“We try to provide the students with technology that some students may not be able to afford.”

Technology upkeep is important not only for cost effectiveness, Cummins said, but also for university adaptability.

“In today’s economy, I think it is more

important to make intelligent, strategic decisions to improve technology and help the university become more efficient, while at the same time creating a better learning environment for students,” Cummins said.

Allison Lampe, a junior from Polo studying photojournalism, said the campus’ available technology benefits her studies.

“There’s a nice big lab of Macs if and when I need them, and the library almost always has a free computer,” she said.

Although the resources are plentiful, Lampe said she recently purchased a personal computer and tablet to be more prepared for classes.

While she said she didn’t feel pressured to purchase the technology, she wondered more about which technology brand to buy.

“Now that I’ve gotten here, the “go Mac or go home” attitude is kind of rampant among photographers,” she said.

Stephanie Burgos, a freshman from Danville studying elementary education,

said she feels pressured to purchase the latest technology.

“I feel a student has a much better chance of getting a better grade in a class if they have something that gives them access to do their homework at any time of day,” she said. “Some students work to pay for college or are just too busy to stop by the library or borrow a laptop from a friend for a bit.”

Burgos said she has spent almost $1,000 on technology between a new laptop and personal printer, but the school’s technology fee is fair.

“If we don’t pay a good price, our technology wouldn’t be as great,” she said. Markum Reed, a graduate student in economics from Carbondale, said the university’s technology environment is also necessary for post-graduation success. “With the increasing technological advances in the world today, I believe that it is important for a university to keep up,” he said. “Universities have a responsibility to the students to give them

the best education possible.”

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