NAIT students concerned over unexpected computer costs


Some students enrolled in Northern Alberta Institute of Technology’s (NAIT) Digital Media and IT (DMIT) program are feeling caught off guard about a change coming in September. “I’m outraged, to be completely honest,” said DMIT student Callen Weisgerber.At the start of the fall 2023 term, new and current students in the program will need to bring their own laptops to class and existing computers in labs will be removed.“We’re already on such a tight budget … this laptop cost is next to impossible for us to get,” Weisgerber said.“It seemed absurd to take away the technology that a technology institute supplies.” 2:01 Cap coming to post-secondary tuition rates in Alberta Weisgerber is in his second semester in the DMIT program. He said the school sent out an email in January letting students know it was implementing a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program. Story continues below advertisement “They’ve sent out this implementation to ask for us to buy these computers which have very, very expensive hardware requirements and some of them are just as much, if not more, than what we pay already in tuition for a semester,” he said.“We need a minimum of 32 gigabytes of RAM and sometimes that’s not even enough, so prices can go well over $3,000 to $4,000 even for a new device.” Trending Now In an email to Global News, NAIT said there was an increase in personal laptop use during the pandemic.“Many students are now bringing their own laptops to class, and the current lab set-up does not provide enough space to accommodate students who wish to use their own computer,” a statement reads.“Allowing students to use their own laptops instead of being tied to a computer lab gives them more flexibility in where and when they complete their coursework.”The school said DMIT is one of NAIT’s most in-demand programs with more applications than availability.“Bringing your own device provides greater flexibility in terms of space and scheduling so NAIT can better meet student demand.” Story continues below advertisement NAIT said BYOD is not new and there are several programs with that requirement.“It really affects the current students at the program. The future students have an opportunity to prepare for this, but for us, we were caught off guard and our hands were kind of tied behind our back,” he said.Weisberger is also concerned that with these changes, the quality of the classroom experience will be affected.“It’s still an issue because we’re still limited to this one small device, whereas we need to have multiple monitors up at a time doing different programs running different things,” he added.Weisberger started a petition to stop the BYOD program from being implemented and said hopes this doesn’t become the norm across post-secondary programs. 2:19 Alberta government unveils affordability measures for post-secondary students &copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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