University CIO proposes $3 raise to student IT fee, tuition fee not increasing next academic year

By Austin Phelps and Jeremy Brown, Staff Reporter and Campus Editor

At its regularly scheduled Undergraduate Student Government meeting Tuesday, University Interim Chief Information Officer Scott Bridges proposed a $3 raise to the student information technology fee.

Bridges said the fee increase would predominantly go toward new costs. This would bring the fee to $10 per credit hour.

Students at the university currently pay $7 per credit hour. It is a part of the $117 per credit hour general fee structure, Bridges said.

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“That would be $45 per semester for a full-time undergrad level,” Bridges said.

The fee supports the student information system, which has 12 different systems that make up the whole, Bridges said. It also supports the university’s technology infrastructure.

“Think bandwidth, okay? Access to the internet,” Bridges said. “It also pays for our SalukiTech call center and service center.”

Bridges said if they do get the $3 fee increase, and it’s not enough funds for everything they want to complete, the university will still make progress.

“I will pledge to you right now that we will make substantial, consistent progress,” Bridges said. “I don’t know what next year’s gonna hold, but I will pledge to you that we will enact what we’re talking about […] to make consistent progress.”

Judy Marshall, executive director of administration and finance, said the fee has not increased since 2006 and will not increase without student support.

“When that fee was started a few years ago there was great student support for it,” Marshall said.

Marshall said she wanted to present this to USG as early as possible to get student opinions on the proposal before presenting it to the SIU Board of Trustees in their December meeting.

The tuition fee will not be raised for the next academic year, Marshall said.

With the fee raise, Bridges said a list of some technology resources that could be added.

“The $3 raise isn’t going all that’s listed but it can cover quite a bit of it,” Bridges said.

Expanded campus Wi-Fi

Bridges said this could include new access points being installed around campus, so there would be Wi-Fi signal on campus outside of the buildings. Each access point would cost around $300-$400, and would also require cable installations as well.

USG Senator Colton Newlin said giving the selling point of campus-wide indoor and outdoor Wi-Fi would turn many students toward attending SIU.

“I just gave open house tours and they were asking about ‘How good’s the Wi-Fi here?’ and I said in the buildings, it’s great,” Newlin said. “So you’re solving a problem that prospective students just presented to me a few days ago.”

SalukiTech reformatted to one location, a “Solution Center”

An all-in-one solution center for SalukiTech could be created as opposed to the current multiple locations, Bridges said. The solution center would also feature one-on-one help for students with problems with technology.

Currently the computer store is on hiatus, Bridges said, but in this proposed solution center the computer store would return as part of the center.

(See more: SalukiTech shuts down in Student Center, e-sports center and makerspace to replace)

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure

VDI would be the most expensive addition under the fee, Bridges said.

“You [would] no longer have to go to a lab to get your software,” Bridges said. “We can install just a little piece of software on your laptop and you can get any kind of software that we have available.”

Students could use programs the university provides on their own devices without having to go to different labs around campus to use specific software.

With this, the university is thinking of having more collaborative spaces instead of labs, Bridges said.

“That’s kind of the direction the schools are going to,” Bridges said. “We’ve put that in a couple places already. Classes are being taught with VDI supporting it, and so far so good.”

Staff reporter Austin Phelps can be reached at aphelps@dailyegyptian.com or on Twitter at @austinphelps96.

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