With the growing amount of technology expenditures at Central Oregon Community College, the college may be discussing new ways to fund the Information Technology Services department. One of the options includes increasing the technology fee paid by students.
The current technology fee is $2 per credit hour, up to and including ten credit hours. The ITS department currently earns a total of $310,000 annually from the technology fees. The cost of technology spending directly to students however is $850,000 annually.
“The gap [between the fees and spending amounts] is probably going to grow bigger,” said Dan Cecchini Jr., COCC’s director of information and technology services. “It’s becoming a bit of a challenge at this point.”
The remaining spending amount that the fees do not cover comes from the college’s general funding, which comes from tuition fees, property taxes and state appropriations.
The current adopted budget for technology services is $2,417,639, according to COCC’s monthly budget status from the Dec. 8 Board meeting packet. This also covers technology expenditures indirect to students, which totals $3.65 million, according to a technology investment PowerPoint presentation presented by Cecchini to the Board in November.
“We’re not going to cover the whole gap,” said Matt McCoy, COCC’s vice president for administration. “But that doesn’t mean we won’t fund technology.”Cecchini believes that when the college discusses the issue, it could influence the technology fee.
“There’s a possibility there will be some discussion on how’s the college going to continue funding it,” said Cecchini. “I think there’s going to be some discussing about the technology fee formula … The fee could increase … or the general funding.”
McCoy said that if a change in fees occurred, it would not be a significant increase.
“If we look at a tuition or [general funding] increase, we want to make sure it’s not heavy,’ said McCoy.
In addition, McCoy explained that while an increase in fees is possible, it is also dependent on “a demand for more technology, more computer labs and more classrooms.”
Over the past five years, the number of students per technology staff member increased 45%, Internet bandwidth increased 800% and expenditures for bandwidth increased 500%, according to the PowerPoint presentation.
Besides these increases, the ITS department also has numerous initiatives and challenges, which include installing “sophisticated cameras” in the new culinary center and health/careers building, said Cecchini.