Tech, please

by Our View

Schools across the nation have caught the technology bug – frombig-name Duke University to Simpson’s rivals Loras College andBuena Vista University.

At Loras, freshmen are handed a shiny, new laptop.

The same goes for Buena Vista.

What do students at Simpson get? A T-shirt.

However, the laptops at Buena Vista and Loras cannot beconsidered free. Anything given to students from colleges isfigured into the price tag of higher education.

At Loras, student expenses are $19,638 per year, not includingroom and board. Worked into those expenses is $400 per semester foras a technology fee – which adds up to $3,200 after four years.

At Buena Vista, student expenses are $20,854, not including roomand board. Students are supplied with a laptop, wireless networkingand an amazing repair policy: If the computer is not fixed withinten minutes, a replacement computer is given to the student untilthe original laptop is fixed.

Simpson’s student expense is $19,635, not including room andboard. Yet students do not receive any technological gadgets, nordo they benefit from speedy repairs.

Simpson students pay almost as much as students that havetechnology extras, but there have been times when students couldnot find a working color printer on campus. The college’s apartmentbedrooms have only one Internet hookup, despite the fact that twostudents share a bedroom.

If a technology fee of $250 per semester were added to Simpsonstudent expenses, this year’s expenses would be $20,135 – stillvery comparable to Simpson’s competition. For printers that work,quick repairs and adequate Internet availability, most studentswould be willing to pay this extra money. In fact, if the collegewere to cleverly fold this technology fee into tuition costs, manywouldn’t even notice.

It would be like Flex money at the Grill: it’s not “real” moneyunless it has to be taken out of a wallet.

The fee should be used to add staff to the Information Servicesdepartment and update computers on campus.

Of course, this fee should only be applied to full-time,resident students. These are the students that would make the mostuse of the improved technological services, thus they should bearthe brunt of the cost.

There are students that pay for the Simpson experience on theirown, and any extra fee would be a burden for them. But adequatetechnological resources should be a priority for students: thosethat pay for college themselves should be demanding the best at areasonable price. An additional $500 per year would not put Simpsonout of the monetary competition for students.

Simpson has always prided itself on its reputation as a topprivate college in the Midwest. But if technological advances arenot soon seen, students cannot be assured that they are getting thebest education possible.

Loras and Buena Vista are both ranked 19 for comprehensiveundergraduate schools in the Midwest, according to US News andWorld Reports. Simpson is ranked 8. If Simpson wishes to remainabove the competition, it must follow suit and enter thetechnological arms race.