WTAMU has not taken the steps to register their university and students in this program.
According to James Webb, WT chief information technology officer, the university would have to pay an additional annual fee of $125,000 to $150,000 to participate in the program, which would require an increase in fees and approval by the president and board of regents. The current Microsoft agreement is $70,000.
“Like most things, there is a cost associated with adding this service, which would involve increasing the technology fee,” Webb said. “There is certainly a balance there, and I’ve been sensitive to the increased costs of tuition and fees that students pay these days.”Webb said the current Microsoft agreement in place includes computers used in the open access lab and remote labs around campus, as well as those used by faculty and staff and on servers required for applications such as WTClass, logon systems and file servers.
According to Webb, the licensing agreement would require students to have a Universal Identification Number (UIN), which is a part of the student identifier at TAMU.
“This would be a larger discussion that would need to include departments such as enrollment management and the business and finance divisions,” Webb said. “I think that this is certainly doable, it will require a change to systems and processes currently in place today.”
Pierce Cantrell, TAMU chief information officer, said TAMU students supported the licensing agreement, and an incidental fee was added to their school costs.
Cantrell said the major benefit it offers students is the chance to save money.
According to a TAMU IT annual student saving report provided by Cantrell, students pay $160 for two Microsoft products compared to the $270 retail price. The students pay $40 for media costs for the two Microsoft products and $120 in the course of four years, for the software licenses.
“If a student purchases one piece of Microsoft software while they’re at the university, their total cost would be similar to purchasing the software at a retail store with an education discount,” Allison Oslund, TAMU information technology communication manager, said. “However, if they buy any additional software they are coming out ahead and saving money.”
The IT report also stated that Prairie View, College Station, Galveston and Qatar branches of the A&M system have all enrolled students in the license agreement.
“I do think that it would be beneficial for students to have the ability to purchase software at discounted rates and I think that this should be a continued discussion to pursue,” Webb said.
Webb is also working on a concept that includes the creation of an open access lab which would let students to use their own devices in residence halls or at home to securely connect to the network and run a virtual image of applications through a remote desktop.
“We haven’t worked through all of the components and costs yet and are still looking into a solution,” Webb said.