$6 student fee increase to fund tech

Ruth Brown

Ruth Brown

A $6 technology fee increase, as approved by the Board of Regents on April 3, comes with both pros and cons for SDSU’s students. The rise in cost may seem pricey to some, but it will lead to improvements in the quality of technology at SDSU.

The original plan, the AL Cloud, proposed a $3.72-per-credit-hour increase in student fees. The new plan will be a $6 per-credit-hour increase. The original plan, which was supported by the Students’ Association, was just for campus-wide wireless Internet. It did not include any smart classrooms and no training for faculty members.

“SDSU was really lagging in technology advances,” said Patrick Weber, SA senator at-large and a senior math major. “This plan will allow [SDSU] to try new smart-classrooms and other technology.”

“The Regents probably understood that they needed to raise the fee above $3.72 because they don’t want the program to fall short,” said Alex Halbach, former president of the Student Federation. “They need to insure that the program has enough financial support to utilize it correctly. Otherwise, it could very well just fall on its face.”

The Board of Regents did not approve the SA’s plan, so they came up with the new $6 fee plan. The Regents chose statewide fees for all the universities in the Regental system, the price depending on the university’s needs.

“The first $4 of the fee is for basic infrastructure,” said Matt Tollefson, president of the Students’ Association and a junior agricultural education major. “The other $2 is for the faculty training.”

The $4 of the new student fee will be used almost entirely to improve campus wireless Internet. There will be approximately 600 access points on campus. Wireless Internet will be available in all classrooms and public places. Dakota State University and South Dakota School of Mines and Technology are already 100 percent wireless. Other uses of that $4 per credit hour include purchase of equipment, desks and upgrades in classrooms.

“The wireless will not be available in the dorms,” said Weber. “Eventually, I’m sure they will start considering using dorm fees to implement that, though.”

Not all members of the SA approve of the larger increase in student fees.

“The fee will really put an extra strain on students, it is a significant increase,” said Tim Goldammer, SA senator at-large and a junior hospitality major. “One of the major reasons students from Minnesota and Iowa come here is because it is affordable but at the same time provides a quality education. If increases continue, students won’t be able to afford to go to the college.

“The Students’ Association will do their best to try and put it to good use and better the campus.”

Other schools are up to $12, so $6 may seem steep, but it should go to good use, said Michael Kendall, vice president of the SA and senior political science and business economics major.

“It might seem like a lot of money,” said Weber, “but I think it really is important enough to spend it. It’s really the only way we can get this done.”

As of right now, the completion date for the plan is undecided.

“The plan still has to be finished,” said Kendall. “There are still things that need to be tweaked.”

“Hopefully, students will embrace the new technology, even with the fee increase,” said Halbach. “I think it would be pretty hard to find a student who wasn’t in favor of a wireless campus.”