Frequently Asked Questions
What are the student network and telephone charges?
All students who live in on-campus housing may sign up for wired and wireless network connections in the residences, and all rooms come standard with land line phones. To fund these services, all residents are automatically assessed a Technology Fee on the quarterly University Bill, alongside room & board, house dues, etc. VPTL Student Technology Services and University IT (UIT), along with other University groups including Student Housing Services and Student Accounting/Controller's Office, have collaborated on this plan to better serve students and the University.
How much is the fee?
The fee for 2015-2016 is $64/quarter and for 2016-2017 is $67/quarter.
Were students consulted in formulating this fee?
The details of the fee plan were formulated by administrators in VPTL Student Technology Services (formerly Student Computing) and University IT (formerly IT Services), and presentations were made to the ASSU Senate and the Graduate Student Council to enlist student support. Following the Provost's approval of the fee structure, we continue working with ASSU leaders to address student concerns, and through the Student Technology Assessment Committee, evaluate this arrangement along with other student technology concerns.
What are the infrastructure costs?
Cables and cable paths for networking and telephone service are upgraded from time to time, and new paths are laid for new construction. Costs are distributed over multiple years for usage.
Where does the money from the Technology Fee go?
The fee goes directly to support student network and phone connections, in three main categories: telephone and network infrastructure, network hardware and staff in UIT Networking, and professional and student staff who administer and support the residential networks.
Does the University make money from these charges?
No. Networking is heavily subsidized by the University. The backbone network infrastructure that the residential networks depend on is funded entirely by the University, and so are the connections to the outside ("commodity") Internet and to Internet 2 (connections to other universities and research facilities).
What are the benefits of land line telephones?
When a student dials 911 from a land line in a residence, emergency responders would be dispatched to the location (address) displayed on a dispatcher's computer monitor screen. The dispatcher will then immediately ask the student for their exact location within the residence which is then relayed to emergency responders. The process of relaying proper location (street address) to 911 dispatchers is fully automated to ensure a quick response. When dialing 9-1-1 from a cell phone, the location (address) is not currently traceable. However, the nearest cell tower(s) can provide dispatchers with the radius (area) from within the call was placed which is why it is very important that the exact location be the first information provided to the dispatcher.
With a land line students can use the door system to buzz visitors into the building. That functionality isn't currently available with cell phones. Issues of concern include the fact that the door system would need to make long distance calls, but more importantly there is no easy way for the door system to tell if the cell phone is physically nearby. Students should obviously not be able to buzz visitors in from back home or when out of the state.
In the last earthquake, land lines worked but cell phones didn't. Cell phone technology has come a long way since then, but it is not perfect. Cell phone service systems are actually built on over-subscription, so when all users try to connect at once (e.g. in an emergency), not everyone can get through.
Does the University provide a physical telephone, along with the service?
What if I don't want a University phone? Can I opt out of this service and the Technology Fee?
You cannot opt out. All student rooms have land lines and telephones available for safety and emergency use, even if you choose not to use your phone for local service.
Can I still get long distance service or additional phone lines?
Yes. Long distance service is available for any land line phone, billed on students' monthly communications bill from ITS (with cable TV service, if applicable). Students may sign up and pay for additional phone lines, especially useful in two-room doubles and graduate housing.
What if I'm in a two-room double, or an apartment, or a quad?
Doubles and triples, regardless of the number of rooms, come with one phone. Apartments come with one phone as well. Quads or larger rooms may come with two physical phones based on layout, but will have only one phone line even if there is more than one physical phone.
Where can I get more information on phone service?
For general information, see Telephone Service for Students.
If I live in couples housing, will we both be charged? What about family housing?
Only students who pay room rent will be charged the Technology Fee. In couples and family housing, one student is the contract holder (even with two-student couples), and that student will receive a single charge.
What if I move off campus during the quarter? Will I get a refund?
Refunds for the Technology Fee will be handled the same way they are for house dues. The fee won't be prorated; rather, you will get a full credit if you move out before a certain point, and no credit after that. Please contact the Housing Office for more information.
If I'm in housing continuously, is there a Technology Fee for intersession?
No. Room and board charges for Interim housing (e.g. the month between Summer and Autumn quarters) appear on your University bill, but there won't be an associated Technology Fee for that period.
How can I provide feedback about the Technology Fee?
Submit your feedback at our VPTL Student Technology Services Online Help Center.
What if I have other questions about my University bill?
Please submit a request under the appropriate category at HelpSU.
What if I have problems with my land line phone or service?
Please direct your questions about phone service to the UIT Help Desk (you can also call 5-HELP).
What if I have problems with my networking service?
For computer and network questions in the residences, please visit our VPTL Student Technology Services Online Help Center or talk to your Resident Computer Consultant.