Spent my week at UWEC. You want to know why tuition is so high?

themagiconethemagicone Member Posts: 674
I spent my week working with an AV crew at UWEC (University of Wisconsin Eau Claire). They are building a new student center there. The amount of money wasted in that building is mind blowing. There is 2 IDF's on each floor, 3 floors for a total of 6 rooms. Each room has anywhere from 300 to 500+ drops, upwards of 25,000 to 40,000 feet of Cat6 Plenum Cable. They put drops EVERYWHERE. Every single electrical outlet has 2 data ports next to it, sometimes more. One spot that is in a hallway that has a display case that is 8 feet long has 2 ports on the bottom of the case, 2 on the left and 2 on the right. Then there is 2 just a few more feet down!

Each room is getting at least 2 electronic scheduling screen on the outside, sometimes more. There is a AV rack in every conference room, projector, automated screen and sound system. The AV equipment for the 3rd floor that has a large ball room and 2 smaller meeting spaces uses 6 42U racks in itself. 50+ cameras. It is just amazing seeing it all. One of the biggest wastes of tax payer money and tuition I have ever seen.
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Comments

  • IristheangelIristheangel CCIEx2 (Sec + DC), CCNP RS, CCNA V/S/R/DC, CISSP, CEH, MCSE 2003, A+/L+/N+/S+, and a lot more from m Pasadena, CAMod Posts: 4,133 Mod
    Tuition is high because Wisconsin has had enormous cuts to their university system in the last 10 years. Lower state funding plus inflation, crappy economy, etc is what drives state school tuition to increase. Is the new student center a waste? Meh. Maybe if the students wouldn't end up using it or it served no practical purpose. How much do expenditures like that affect the overall tuition rate? Surprisingly little.
    BS, MS, and CCIE #50931
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  • the_Grinchthe_Grinch Member Posts: 4,165 ■■■■■■■■■■
    I work for a University and this is about par for the course. What I believe you are missing is how old was the building that it's replacing? We are replacing our student center (mainly used by commuters, but anyone can use it) and it was quite literally close to 30 years old. It truly amazes me when people say "this is a waste of tax payers dollars" when it comes to education. You want the best and brightest to work for your company, but want them to use buildings and equipment from the 80's. I am at a private institution so all our funding is from tuition, research, and the alums. Someone decides to donate a couple million to build a new building with the latest and greatest tech, are you going to tell them no?

    It is amazing to see new technology used in a classroom. A lot of professors now are usually part-time and working in their respected fields. Having visual presentations and engaging the students foster a much better learning environment. Could you do it with a chalkboard? Sure, but I promise you that you'll learn nothing from it. Use a smartboard, bringing the student up to perform an equation, and then showing a Youtube video where what they just did was applied to a real world scenario...now you make a difference.

    So the conclusion, don't assume that all the money for that new building came solely from the tax payers. A lot of it probably did, but I can promise you a large portion probably came in the form of donations from alumni.
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  • themagiconethemagicone Member Posts: 674
    I don't have a problem with them building a new building. My scuff is with all the extra stuff. Do you really need 25 ports on a small hallway that will never be used? More so when you are installing a $100k cisco wireless network? Do you really need (2) 200 amp theater switch panels in every room? If you have a bunch of money put it toward scholarships and grants to help underprivileged children to go to college without breaking the bank.
    Courses Completed at WGU: JIT2, LYT2, TFT2, SJT2, BFC2, TGT2, FXT2
    Courses Required For Me To Graduate WGU in MS: IT Network Managment: MCT2, LZT2, MBT1, MDT2, MNT2
    CU Done this term: 16 Total CU Done: 19
    Currently working on: Nothing Graduation Goal: 5/2013
  • tpatt100tpatt100 Member Posts: 2,991 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Hasty generalization - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    I used to think it was crazy to see what was spent on implementing technology until I started writing proposals and determine labor hours, costs, warranty, etc. Then I learned about budget requests and sometimes you had to go over what was needed to plan for future possibilities that you need to expand or the money might not be available.

    That was when I started proposing hardware that went above capacity so it could be available for expanded uses later rather than trying to redo the whole thing. Or when the City was involved the money was not there so if a department was due for new desktops and laptops I ordered above the norm so they got longer use out of the stuff.
  • IristheangelIristheangel CCIEx2 (Sec + DC), CCNP RS, CCNA V/S/R/DC, CISSP, CEH, MCSE 2003, A+/L+/N+/S+, and a lot more from m Pasadena, CAMod Posts: 4,133 Mod
    Does a school need a flexible wired infrastructure on top of it's wireless infrastructure? Most likely yes. When it comes to a university, they're probably designing based on current and projected future needs. Not everything can and should be on a wireless network.
    BS, MS, and CCIE #50931
    Blog: www.network-node.com
  • cnfuzzdcnfuzzd Member Posts: 208
    I spent my week working with an AV crew at UWEC (University of Wisconsin Eau Claire). They are building a new student center there. The amount of money wasted in that building is mind blowing. There is 2 IDF's on each floor, 3 floors for a total of 6 rooms. Each room has anywhere from 300 to 500+ drops, upwards of 25,000 to 40,000 feet of Cat6 Plenum Cable. They put drops EVERYWHERE. Every single electrical outlet has 2 data ports next to it, sometimes more. One spot that is in a hallway that has a display case that is 8 feet long has 2 ports on the bottom of the case, 2 on the left and 2 on the right. Then there is 2 just a few more feet down!

    Each room is getting at least 2 electronic scheduling screen on the outside, sometimes more. There is a AV rack in every conference room, projector, automated screen and sound system. The AV equipment for the 3rd floor that has a large ball room and 2 smaller meeting spaces uses 6 42U racks in itself. 50+ cameras. It is just amazing seeing it all. One of the biggest wastes of tax payer money and tuition I have ever seen.


    None of that really sounds that expensive...I am sure the AV equipment was pricey, but in terms of overall budget, I doubt it moved the needle that much.
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  • tacmtacm Registered Users Posts: 5 ■□□□□□□□□□
    True, schools will definitely be planning ahead in what they're building right now. Even if there's things they don't need now, they will definitely think about what they WILL be needing. It could cost more now but end up saving in the future because they planned ahead also.
  • the_Grinchthe_Grinch Member Posts: 4,165 ■■■■■■■■■■
    As others have said, future planning was at work there. Plus, if they have professors/administration staff anything like we do, you'll tell them they have to put their desk here or there and they'll say "take a hike, I want it here make it work." We recently had a President move from an office to a conference room as his new office. Of course he wanted the Smartboard to stay, but they didn't consult us about furniture placement. As it always goes, he's on the opposite side of the monitor/usb hookup for the Smartboard. So now I had to order very long cables and run them behind furniture so they couldn't be seen. Luckily, we literally had 8 networking and phone ports in that room ready to go so everything else looked clean. Much more expensive to install a port after the wall is already up.

    While I could agree it would be nice to put more money towards scholarships and grants, no one will want to go to the school if the buildings are almost condemned and the newest tech in the building is an overhead transparency projector on a cart. Never forget the idea is to not only attract students, but distinguished professors as well. Everybody wins when you have good facilities, excellent teachers, and happy students who are learning. This in turns put them on the right path to get jobs and make a difference in their chosen field. Plus all the jobs created to building and outfitting the structure. A true trickle down method that actually works....
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  • tpatt100tpatt100 Member Posts: 2,991 ■■■■■■■■■□
    I won't give all colleges a pass though when it comes to renovations, additions, etc. I know for my local university they are spending hundreds of millions on new buildings besides renovations. I was reading up on a few of them and one was for a research facility that some big wig that was hired wanted as terms of accepting the offer to work there. Seems he has connections to Washington and lobbyists so it was a good way to get access to more government grants.
  • the_Grinchthe_Grinch Member Posts: 4,165 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Fair enough, there is always going to be politics and backroom deals involved in this. But at the same time, grants for government research are often the bread and butter of many colleges. As I said, bring in the best and brightest staff. With them comes grants, awards, and students who want to study under the best. A local college to me was always known as one of the best college for becoming a teacher. While this is great, you can't depend on just a population of people wanting to be teachers. So a business man (who had done quite well) came in and said I want to help make you one of the best engineering schools around (at this time, in Southern New Jersey there weren't any very well known engineering schools). He writes a check for $100 million dollars, numerous buildings are constructed. The entire college is named after him and with the new buildings/equipment comes some of the top engineers in their fields. In a few years, they are competing with established engineering programs and winning government grants and research dollars.

    Through a program with my high school I was able to help a team of researchers with the Computer Science department on a project for non-intrusive testing of oil pipelines. My friend was working with a civil engineering professor on a new higher strength, cheaper form of concrete. People forget that innovation is really coming from colleges. Be it directly the schools themselves or their students leaving to begin companies.
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  • jbones24jbones24 Registered Users Posts: 1 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Hey everyone!
    Just for knowledge sake and some background on the new student union at UWEC, the new union is completely student funded. No tax dollars were spent in the building of the new union. The student senate voted back around 2001 to set student segregated fees to help fund a new student union in the future. Therefore, it was the students who said we will help pay for a new building.
  • the_Grinchthe_Grinch Member Posts: 4,165 ■■■■■■■■■■
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  • tpatt100tpatt100 Member Posts: 2,991 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Ok this is twice now that somebody directly related to our topic creates an account to provide some information. I am going to create a Jessica Alba topic right now.
  • the_Grinchthe_Grinch Member Posts: 4,165 ■■■■■■■■■■
    LOL tpatt
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  • MentholMooseMentholMoose Senior Member Member Posts: 1,524 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I don't have a problem with them building a new building. My scuff is with all the extra stuff. Do you really need 25 ports on a small hallway that will never be used? More so when you are installing a $100k cisco wireless network?
    That might be excessive, but for a modern campus wifi deployment, you do need a massive number of drops for APs. At my last job (sysadmin at a college) we would have loved to have spare drops in hallways, etc., in the buildings that needed better wifi (i.e. all of them). Unfortunately, that wasn't usually the case (even in some of the newer buildings), which complicated things. Compared to installing drops during the construction of the building, adding them to an existing building costs an order of magnitude more. Because of this, in our wifi improvement proposals I believe the drops alone accounted for at least half of the cost, so it was difficult to get them approved unless we severely pared them down.

    Further, colleges tend to have a lot of bureaucracy and politics, so getting approval to install drops in an existing building might take months, or might not happen at all. Once it's approved you probably have to wait until spring, winter, or summer break to do any sort of construction, which is a hassle since you have to cram a ton of other projects into that time. Also there is history to consider. The number of wifi-enabled devices carried by students has absolutely exploded in the last few years, which has caught college IT departments off guard. In a classroom with a 50 student capacity, 5 years ago you might have had 5-10 wifi devices (all laptops), which could easily be handled by one AP, but today you can easily have 100 or more as every student has a laptop and smart phone and some have tablets and additional devices like MP3 players and cameras.
    MentholMoose
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