$475,000 goes to tech upgrades

The tech fees are being used for enhancing education.



Michelle Abbott


Tech fees are big business at Pierce College and it pays to know the cost. Each year about $500,000 is pooled into the tech fee account and distributed by a student-run committee.

Pierce College Puyallup students are charged tech fees each quarter according to the amount of credits in which they enroll. The cost is $3.50 per credit or a maximum of $35. The budget for 2012-2013 amounts to $475,000.

The cost pays for the college’s technical capabilities to enhance the educational experience of students. Student fees are applied to student tech needs on the campus, including items such as computers, system upgrades and the Internet. Other expenditures include American Sign Language equipment, software and computer center student assistants’ salaries.

This year, the Student Technology Fee Budget Committee put the largest amount of funds toward the student virtual desktop infrastructure ($94,000), student salaries for the computer center ($36,000) and starting the math lab ($35,000). Other large expenditures include student printing ($36,000), computer lab updates ($34,000), and wireless access points ($32,000).

Student David Killion volunteered as chairman of the Student Technology Fee Budget Committee.

“The committee is dedicated to the benefit of the student body,” Killion says.

Killion says he has a head for business and wants to pursue a career as an entrepreneur. Serving on the committee gives him the opportunity for experience in the field.

Students serve as members to represent the interests of fellow students, Director of Student Life Sean Cooke says.

Membership duties include facilitating and scheduling meetings, proposing budget priorities, evaluating new and existing programs, proposing budget levels and adjusting budget requests to the yearly budget allocation.

The budget committee is made up of four students, one faculty or staff member appointed by the ASPCP president and one faculty or staff member appointed by the campus president.

Cooke, the dean of technology and the associate dean of library services serve as non-voting advisory members.

Killion says the committee is student run and operated while advisory members oversee decisions.

Each January, the committee proposes a projected budget based on the current year’s income. Fort Steilacoom and Puyallup have separate accounts, and the fees are distributed at the campus where they’re collected. Interest earned from the pooled funds is redistributed according to each fund’s percentage of ownership at the close of each monthly accounting period.

The Student Technology Fee Financial Code says that the largest expenditures should go toward projects that improve technology accessibility to all students.

In January, opportunities to submit suggestions are offered to campus communities to submit budget proposals to the Tech Fee Budget Committee for approval. Packets are distributed upon request to all organizational advisors and program directors, including the vice president for learning and student success.

Each individual requesting funds must identify other sources of funding that are available.

Any amount that remains after expenditures is placed in a contingency fund in case the need should arise during the course of the year for unforeseen needs or circumstances.

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$475,000 goes to tech upgrades

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