Technology Fee Increase

By Juan Lacayo|November 20, 2018News, Top Stories|4 comments

PCC students are facing another fee increase for the upcoming 2019-21 biennium. The Technology Fee covers what are known as “student facing” expenses incurred by the college that include Online Learning resources, Student Support services, accessibility technology and services, and instructional support services. Budget advocacy town hall meetings will be held in December 2018 or January 2019 to coincide with the Finance Department’s budget timeline. Staff, students, and faculty will have the opportunity to ask questions during these “budget 101” forums to clarify the issues that inform the decision to implement the increase.

Chief Information Officer and Technology Fee Task Force co-chair Michael Northover disclosed that the Technology Fee covers the maintenance of several directly student-facing services, as well as increased costs associated with equipment and devices for student checkout, classroom and open lab technology, and ongoing support. He explained that maintenance costs covered by the Fee include software license renewals and software maintenance agreements.

If approved, a proposed $0.65 per credit hour increase would take effect on July 1, 2019 for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019-20, and another $0.15 increase is slated for FY 2020-21. Students currently pay $4.50 per credit hour in Technology Fees. Each increase would raise this to $5.15 per credit hour in FY 2019-20 and $5.30 for FY 2020-21. The increases are intended to offset increased costs associated with student-facing services, equipment replacement costs, inflation, and “other economic factors” as well as a 20.3% budget cut for the current biennium. Student facing services include: online learning resources (D2L Brightspace); student support services (Student Help Desk, Online Tutoring, and the College Catalog); accessibility technology and services including accessibility software, and captioning and transcription services; and instructional support resources including computer lab support staff.

Incidentally, the equipment costs normally funded by the Fee were subject to steep budget cuts during the current biennium which postponed the replacement of aged classroom computers, as well as other projected technology purchases. Northover explained, “It also resulted in overspending on student support staff for the public computer labs which was a service we did not want to cut as it provides student employment.”

The total Technology Fee budget to cover IT personnel, equipment, and services across the district for FY 2019-20 is $3,740,558. Projected budgets for FY 2020-21 and 2021-22 are $3,879,143 and $3,887,790, respectively. It’s worth noting that the Technology Fee is 100% funded from fee revenue. Northover elaborates on this,

 

“Because of this, only ‘student facing’ costs (as opposed to ‘administrative costs’) can be funded from the Tech Fee. Conversely, however, overall ‘student facing’ costs greatly exceed the Tech Fee budget, so the residual costs are funded from the General Fund.”

With declining enrollment rates projected to be 4% in both FY 2019 and FY 2020 and a 3% decrease in FY 2021, the projected Technology Fee revenues without the increase will be $3,562,412; $3,419,916; and $3,317,318 for FY 2019, FY 2020, and FY 2021, respectively. In order to maintain current service levels and to replace aging equipment, both the District Student Council and the Technology Fee Task Force recommend an increase.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that funding from the Technology Fee covers the cost of Library database subscriptions. The Library does not use Technology Fee funds to pay for database subscription fees. This post has been updated to reflect this.

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Juan Lacayo

About Juan Lacayo

Storytelling is the province of which I am a denizen. Within this realm, in a busy part of town where many pass by and few enter, audiences can find me spinning yarns, weaving tapestries, and stitching together the fabrics of everyday reality. Sometimes those cloths are used for shelter and security, other times they are meant to dazzle and delight those who don them, still other times they are meant for their practical uses in life. However, they are always crafted to specification. Cut to form. Stitched to fit. Carefully considered for the form the fabrics will hug so that each form will glide effortlessly and gracefully, as one. The important thing for those who peruse my collections to remember is that many cuts will fit and complement your form, while others will seem tailored for another figure. You may feel uncomfortable, out of place, yet incongruously drawn to the form that could fill that space. It might be thoughtful consideration of the threads binding together the whole; or how the piece traces the curves a form, leaving room for only a breath of excitement; or possibly the revelation of unconsidered possibilities that coax you into my shop. Whatever your inspiration, know that through these doors lie awesome possibilities that, once beheld, cannot be unseen and should not be forgotten.

4 Comments

  1. I would like to point out that the PCC Library does not receive Student Technology Fee funds for library database subscriptions. Until last year (2017-18) the library received funds from the Student Technology Fee to support the library’s equipment lending program – “equipment and devices for student checkout”. The library has not received any Student Technology Fee funds in this biennium.

  2. Just a note from the Library – we spend 100% of our tech fee allocation on technology that students can check out: https://www.pcc.edu/library/services/borrowing/technology-for-checkout/

    We don’t spend tech fee money on database costs.

  3. If enrollment is going down, why is the budget going up?

    1. Juan Lacayo

      As mentioned in the article, maintenance costs, inflation, and other economic factors are increasing.

      “It also resulted in overspending on student support staff for the public computer labs which was a service we did not want to cut as it provides student employment.”

      If these student wages are paid through the Technology Fee, then there will be a similar cost for covering them since the minimum wage is increasing as well.

      Equipment must be replaced which, while a one-time cost, will require money that wasn’t there this time around to cover the cost. The budget was cut by more than 20% this biennium, and this expense was deferred. That, however, doesn’t remove the need for the equipment.

      It also sounds like service levels suffered as a result of the budget cuts, and there is movement towards restoring the previous service level. So it’s not necessarily so much of a budget increase as movement back towards where it was previously. According to data I received from a District Student Council representative, the FY 2017 Tech Fee Budget was $3,810,107, whereas for FY 2018 it stands at $3,740,558. Moreover, the article mentions that there is a perennial deficit with Tech Fee funding, which is made up for by allocating money from the General Funds. Perhaps the increase is movement towards balancing the budget.

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