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New Technology Fee To Cover $5 Million in Tech Projects at USF

The University of South Florida, with 47,000 students on four campuses, said it expects to collect $3.2 million in technology fees for the first semester in which the new annual assessment has been in place. For the year, the university said, it expects to bring in $6 million, which will be used to enhance institutional technology system-wide for students and faculty.

Florida legislators authorized collection of the fee starting with the 2009-2010 academic year. The fee can equal up to 5 percent of the tuition per credit hour, which is the amount set by South Florida.

The university put its Information Technology Management Council (ITMC) in charge of overseeing project selection. The council includes representatives from IT, administration, and faculty. In turn, the ITMC implemented an online project proposal process.

From an initial round of 60 proposals worth more than $16 million, advisory groups made up of ITMC, as well as the CIO/University Technology Standards Board, and the Student Technology Advisory Council, whittled the proposals down to 24. The approved projects will cost about $5 million. Remaining funds will go into a reserve account to be used in future years.

Among the proposals are several projects to upgrade wireless equipment, expand wireless availability, and build out a redundant network infrastructure. Approved projects include enhancing single-sign-on across campus applications (currently the priciest project, at $703,000) and another to provide computer lab virtualization to enable users to access on their own computers university applications that are currently available only in computer labs (the least expensive project, at $18,535).

"As the funds begin to accumulate, projects are beginning to take shape," a Web update reported. "All campuses are benefiting from the funds and will soon be seeing enhancements from services such as wireless connectivity on campus, desktop virtualization, and ensuring classroom technology is sufficient for student learning."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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