Student tech fee unsustainable

By Gregor Elgee

The student tech fee reserve is projected to reach a negative balance by the year 2026 based on equipment replacement costs and tech fee revenue estimates made by Director of Technology Support Services, Gary Kalbfleisch.

For the 2026/27 academic year, the replacement cost of computers and other technology is expected to outweigh the fund balance of existing revenue gathered from the tech fee. As a result, the tech fee will either need to be adjusted before 2026, technology usage will need to be reduced, or enrollment will need to increase on campus to correct the anticipated deficit.

Kalbfleisch says that while increasing the tech fee before 2026 would be the most obvious way to handle the anticipated deficit, regulating our current technology could also help.

“We’ve got labs that are underutilized at Shoreline,” says Kalbfleisch. “The problem is, everyone wants to use the computer labs between 9 and 11 (a.m.) everyday and then in the afternoon they are unused. Whenever someone brings a proposal to me I’m always trying to see, can we (just) do it in the afternoon? Is there a way we can make better use of existing resources?”

Technology that requires four year replacement includes: iMac desktops for campus computer labs; Laptops for the ESL, Automotive, and Dental programs; and Smart Classroom Technology such as projectors, DVD players, document cameras, microphones and speakers.

Kalbfleisch says that the estimates of this financial forecast are conservative, for technology is replaced on regular four year intervals and money budgeted to replace these devices is not always used.

“Most certainly we are going to go beyond this deadline,” says Kalbfleisch. “The technology is going to change and some of these configurations are as well so we’ve got plenty of time to make some changes.”