Discount Program Helps Break Down Cost Barriers for Technology

December
2010
Sheng Lor, Foundation for California Community Colleges

Community colleges fill a unique role in society, making quality higher education available to any who seek it. Keeping fees among the lowest in the nation is one way California’s community colleges accomplish this mission, but once students enroll, the cost of staying in school continues to increase. Expensive software, textbooks, and supplies create an additional barrier for many. The CollegeBuys program helps break down this hurdle by offering Microsoft® and Adobe® software to California community college faculty, staff, and students at prices even below the regular educational discount. With access to more affordable educational resources, educators and schools can continue to support the endeavors of an increasing student population. The Foundation for California Community Colleges launched CollegeBuys in 1999, when it partnered with Microsoft to establish a cost-saving program for college software and to offer the benefit of work-at-home licensing to faculty and staff. The program is one of the Foundation’s oldest and has grown significantly in scope and in savings. Currently, CollegeBuys partners with 22 different retailers, offering discounts on a wide range of educational products on the CollegeBuys.org website, including software, hardware, classroom furniture, and more, saving California community colleges and their students, faculty, and staff tens of millions of dollars each year. In the first ten months of 2010, faculty, staff, and students saved nearly $8.5 million on popular Microsoft® and Adobe® programs.

Affordability increases accessibility, making CollegeBuys a resource for faculty, both as individuals and as instructors. Faculty and students can be on the same page with current technology, creating a more seamless learning environment. Technological literacy is now more critical than ever to finding and pursuing greater opportunities, and CollegeBuys can help close the gap between those who have access and those who don’t.

Community college faculty and staff have already benefited greatly with CollegeBuys. “This program provides a real service to faculty across the state,” says Jane Patton, president of the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges and faculty member at Mission College.

The California Community College System plays a large and crucial role in the preparation of students for career placement and higher education beyond the two-year college. California community college educators and staff have the opportunity to impact lives daily. CollegeBuys is a resource that faculty and staff can use and pass on to help students forge new skills and be more competitive in today’s employment environment.

A decade has passed since the launching of CollegeBuys, and while the service continues to save millions of dollars for community colleges, many Californians continue to feel the pinch of the current economic crisis. A cost-savings program such as CollegeBuys is becoming more important than ever before. Increasing affordability and equitable access to resources is one way that community colleges can truly continue to extend educational opportunities to an increasing number of people. To find out more about CollegeBuys and its discount programs, please visit CollegeBuys.org.

The articles published in the Rostrum do not necessarily represent the adopted positions of the academic senate. For adopted positions and recommendations, please browse this website.