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Release: Immediate

UI announces allocation of student computer fees for 1997-98

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Money generated by 1997-98 student computing fees will be used to purchase 544 new computers, 41 video and data projectors for using computers in the classroom, 35 printers, and more than $150,000 worth of software, the University of Iowa Student Computing Fee Advisory Committee announced today.

This year the UI will take in about $2.8 million from computing fees charged to students. Of that amount, $1.9 million is available for allocation by the advisory committee. Those funds are generated by the $98 annual computing fee paid by most students. The remainder of the $2.8 million, about $850,000, is earmarked for the colleges of business administration, engineering and law from revenues generated by the computer fees paid by their students.

UI student leaders who took part in making the announcement emphasized that students have a significant role in determining how the fees are spent and noted that this year's allocations are spread widely across campus.

"We want students to know that the funds generated by the fees they pay are going for things that directly benefit them," said Allison Miller, UI Student Government president. "We're able to accomplish that because we are well represented on the Student Computing Fee Advisory Committee. Student government has also taken the initiative to get feedback from students on how the funds should be spent. Those concerns are reflected in the committee's guidelines for approving awards."

Those guidelines give priority to strengthening existing student computing facilities, improving classroom presentation of materials using computing and information technologies, and other projects that directly benefit student computing and electronic information access.

"This isn't just for computers in ITCs (instructional technology centers), it's also for computers and projectors in classrooms, in departmental computer labs and for software that students need for classes, e-mail and for getting access to the Internet," said Meghan Henry, UISG vice president and member of the Student Computing Fee Advisory Committee. "We want students to know that they are benefiting even if they already have their own computer. That's why we've put stickers on equipment that says 'Student Computing Fees Paid For This Equipment'."

Here is a more detailed inventory of how the computer fee funding will be allocated across the campus:

* Instructional Technology Centers (ITCs), which provide computers, printers and software for all students, will get 347 new computers, six projectors, 35 printers and $98,000 worth of software. After replacing outdated computers, there will be over 1,000 computers in the UI's 26 ITCs, the Information Arcade and the Information Commons.

In addition to the computers in ITCs, the UI has more than 30 teaching labs or classrooms with computers for student use. Liberal arts has 18, engineering has five, business administration has three, education and medicine each have two, and law, pharmacy and nursing each have one. Likewise, there are additional computer clusters available for student use in the colleges of business administration, dentistry, education, engineering, law, medicine, the Graduate College, and in about 10 departments in liberal arts.

* Eighteen general assignment classrooms will be outfitted with computers, projectors and related equipment such as VCRs. In addition, four portable computer and projector systems will be purchased for general assignment classrooms. With the new purchases, 61 of the UI's 195 general assignment classrooms will have permanent equipment to handle computer presentations. In addition, the portable units can be used in any classroom in the English Philosophy Building, Lindquist Center, and Schaeffer Hall, all of which are connected to the UI's new fiber optic network. That brings the total number of classrooms with computer and projection capabilities to 103.

* Seventeen different departments received approval for computer hardware and software requests. At least eight will either create or update computer laboratories for students. Another six will equip departmental classrooms with computer presentation hardware and software.

* Student Disability Services had two projects approved. That office will use four computers and one projection unit for presentations and for alternative ways of giving tests to students with disabilities. Another four computers will be used with remote real-time captioning in lecture classrooms around the campus.

Doug True, vice president for finance and university services, noted that student computing fees are supplemented by both financial and physical resources from the UI and many departments. "The Office of Information Technology Services invests another $700,000 in student computing by providing the personnel to get this equipment wired and maintained and to provide support for servers," he said. "Colleges and departments provide the people to staff ITCs and share in the costs for data connections and supplies, and the Office of Space Planning and Utilization plays a big role in making sure that classrooms are properly reconfigured to accommodate the computer equipment."

Since computer fees were established during the 1991-92 fiscal year, they have funded $15.7 million worth of improvements in student computing.