4. In 1998, when the Regents approved
these Network Services Fees for the MSU campuses, they included a “sunset”
provision on the Fees. Therefore, these
fees are scheduled to terminate (“sunset”) at FYE 2006, when the bonds MSU
issued for the purchase and implementation of the University’s student/administrative
(SCT Banner) software will be retired.
5. In 1999 the Regents approved mandatory
Information Technology Fees for UM campuses, with no stipulated “sunset”
provisions. The specified purposes for
these fees were “the acquisition, renewal, licensing, maintenance, and
operations of: campus core and distributed systems, building level hub,
switching, and wiring, and the distributed email/media systems for the support
of instructional and student programs.”
6. It is important to note that, in
addition to these Network Services and Information Technology Fees at MSU and
UM, each campus also has a dedicated, mandatory Student Computer Fee, which has
the distinct purpose of supporting student and instructional computing labs and
services - not system and campus infrastructures.
7. During Fiscal Year 2000 the Regents
Task Force on Student Fees conducted a study and completed a report that was
focused on the study of course fees.
The objectives of this Task Force was “Truth in Advertising” regarding
the price of education; clarity and simplicity of tuition and fee payment; and,
better Board control and accountability for fees. As one outcome of this study, the Task Force recommended that the
University System maintain unique, dedicated, mandatory fees.
8. At present no reliable, continuing
source of revenue exists to fully fund the purchase, upgrade, and replacement
of central computing, network equipment, software, cabling, and computer room
environmental control equipment for the Montana State University campuses.
9. Much of the central computing and
network equipment for both the shared systems of the University, as well as for
each of the campuses, has reached, or is reaching, the end of its useful
lifespan and must be upgraded or replaced before a disastrous failure occurs.
10. The creation of an on-going Information
Technology Fee will provide a substantial portion of the funds necessary to
ensure timely (4-18 year lifecycle) replacement of the University’s, and
campuses’ existing investment in central computing, network equipment,
software, cabling, and computer room environmental control equipment, as well
as enhancements that will undoubtedly be expected by students and faculty in
11. It is a standard practice throughout
higher education for an institution to charge all of its students a dedicated
information technology fee. In Kenneth
C. Green’s Campus Computing Report of the 2002 National Survey of
Computing and Information Technology in American Higher Education, it
was reported that 73.5% of all Public Universities have a fee, with an average
annual cost of $177. The equivalent
figures for Public 4-Year Colleges were 74.6%, and $139.
12. Each MSU campus has done all that it can
to identify alternative sources of funding for these essential, recurring
capital needs. The primary
beneficiaries of the information technology infrastructure on any campus are
the programs, students, faculty, and staff of the institution’s general
operations - and the two major sources of revenue for an institution’s general
operations are state funding and student tuition/fees. Therefore, if the Regents did not approve
this proposed fee, or the students requested that a different source be used, a
tuition increase would be the only alternative available - and we believe that
the students would prefer a distinct, clearly identifiable, and dedicated fee
rather than increased tuition.
13. Board of Regents approval of this
request will not modify the current semester costs of the Network Services
Fees, nor their pledged use, throughout fiscal years 2004, 2005, and 2006.
14. The primary reason for requesting
approval of this proposal, at this time, is to formalize the Regents’
commitment to a fee in FY07. Having
that in place in the immediate future is essential to the University, in order
to secure lines of credit to implement multi-year infrastructure replacement
plans beginning in fiscal year 2004.
15. In accordance with the Regents’ new
Policy (506.1) on Student Participation in Mandatory Fee Decisions, this
proposal has been shared with MSU Student Leaders throughout all phases of its
development, and was formally presented to each MSU campus’s Student Senate for
review and discussion.
16. On each campus there are mechanisms in
place to involve both students and faculty in the decision-making processes
that will implement these capital plans, and make the annual commitments of
17. The Attachment to this Proposal is a
10-Year Information Technology Replacement Plan for the University’s shared,
multi-campus infrastructure, as well as for each individual campus. This document identifies each specific
(hardware, software, cabling, and environmental control equipment) element of
infrastructure that is included in the Plan.
18. The attached Plan specifically
identifies the proposed Fee rates, for FY07, at each campus B and reflects our
collective best estimates of likely Fee rates, for all succeeding fiscal years,
at each campus. However, it is
important to recognize that this Plan is a dynamic document that involves many
cost projections and financial assumptions.
Therefore, this Plan, and its cost projections must, and will, be
reviewed (and revised as necessary) each year, following Regents’ policy 506.1
as well as campus guidelines for revision of fees.
19. On the Bozeman campus, the
revenue from this fee will be dedicated to funding a sizable portion of the
replacement, renewal, and enhancement of the University’s shared, multi-campus
central computing systems and services infrastructure, as well as the campus’s
central computing systems and networking services infrastructure. This includes 69 servers, 11 printers, 4
backup and storage devices, 4 uninterruptible power supplies, 2 air
conditioning units, an electrical connection to a generator, a halon fire
suppression system, 236 network devices (switches, routers, hubs) which service
7,019 active network ports. It also
includes building wiring for 54 buildings and the campus fiber backbone of
about eleven linear miles of cable. The
total capital asset value of the shared, multi-campus infrastructure at this
time is $982,369; and the Bozeman campus infrastructure is $6,664,505.
infrastructure includes the University’s central administrative computing
system, which serves all students and student employees; and also includes the
University’s high-speed 24 Mbps Internet access as well as its 45 Mbps
Internet2 access. The Internet routers
are included in our network equipment but not the annual operating costs to pay
for the Internet access. The more specific student benefits included within
this infrastructure are such things as connections for well over 300 computers
in global-access student labs, free e-mail accounts for each student, free Web
page hosting for interested students, and specialized computing systems for
student advising, on-line class registration, personalized student information
access, and a student government on-line voting system.
20. On the Billings campus, in
addition to funding the campus’ portion of the MSU central computing costs, the
revenue from this fee will be dedicated to funding a sizable portion of banner
operations, campus IT infrastructure, servers, desktops, security, software,
21. On the Northern campus,
the revenue from this fee will be dedicated entirely to funding the
replacement, renewal, ongoing operational costs and enhancement of the
University’s shared, multi-campus central computing systems and services
22. On the Great Falls campus,
the revenue from this fee will be dedicated to funding the MSU Great Falls
portion of the replacement, renewal, and enhancement of the University’s
shared, multi-campus central computing systems and services
infrastructure. Remaining revenues
from this fee will be used to fund a sizable portion of the replacement and
maintenance of the campus’s computing systems and 2 the networking
Great Falls computing systems include a Banner forms server, 88 desktop PC’s
for Staff and Faculty and 11 Banner use printers. The network infrastructure, which serves all students and
employees, for the campus WAN and LAN includes a router, a core switch and 16
distribution switches. Capital
investment for these network devices is about $100,000. The ongoing costs for the network are
maintenance for equipment, administrative, core and circuit costs for the DS3
connection to Summittnet II (i.e. Internet) for FY 03 are $41,468.