September 21, 2020 | Budget

How to Provide Constant Access to Technology

Learn how to use CARES Act funds to help students stay connected to vital IT resources.

3 min

Covid-related IT costs are quickly piling up as colleges and universities aim to meet the needs of in-person and remote students simultaneously. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which establishes and funds the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) can cover technology resources that “enable students to transition to distance learning.”

This is a great step in meeting the diverse technology needs of students. The funds may be used to purchase software that makes campus resources accessible to students whether they’re on campus, in quarantine or studying remotely.

LabStats is a great use of CARES Act funding as it’s affordable ($6 per license) and offers a robust return on investment. Universities across the country have seen savings of up to $900k by using LabStats usage data to inform IT budget decisions.

Related: Computer Lab Monitoring Software Pricing Explained

LabStats computer lab monitoring software can help students find available computers in real time, whether they’re on campus or accessing computers remotely. 

Help Students Find Available Computers On Campus 

Students who are on campus need to be able to find an available computer quickly, without wandering around campus. Computers may have moved, and labs and libraries may have different hours or reduced capacity. But you can ease the tension that students may face in finding the resources they need with LabMaps. 

LabMaps

LabMaps are simple, custom maps that you can create for each of your computer labs. Make a simple layout of your lab in any design program, and drop a dynamic icon in each location where there is a computer. The icons will use LabStats real-time data to dynamically change colors, indicating if a computer is available, in-use or offline. 

Related: Returning to Socially Distanced Computer Labs

LabMaps help reduce unnecessary traffic and get students to the computers they need in a quick, direct manner. Students who are working remotely also need to be able to find an available computer quickly and easily.

Provide Access to Campus Computers Remotely

If your institution used CARES Act funds to purchase laptops for students to transition to distance learning, you may still need to provide access to specialized software. Purchasing individual student licenses for programs like Adobe, SPSS and others may be cost-prohibitive. Even if your school is able to provide those licenses, students’ laptops may lack the processing power to run required software. 

LabStats can help. In response to higher education’s quick transition to remote delivery in March, we developed the Remote Access Dashboard.

LabStats Remote Access Dashboard

Students can use the dashboard to find and remotely connect to available campus computers. The dashboard is included with LabStats computer lab monitoring software at no additional cost, so you can keep students connected to campus resources and also track usage in real-time.

Maximize Budgets with Real-time Usage Reports

After solving for open and closed campus fall semester scenarios, IT teams are forging ahead with completely reprioritized budgets. The CARES Act and HEERF are a huge help, but won’t cover every IT need, so knowing where the funds are most needed is essential. 

With LabStats real-time usage reports, you can make informed decisions about which computers to prioritize. You can see when and where computers on campus are used the most, to ensure lab hours and cleaning schedules are optimized, and you’re not wasting budget on computer labs that sit empty.

Related: Can Your School Reduce Hardware?

LabStats reports can also reveal how many software licenses are actually needed. Are students using provided software more or less than you anticipated? Knowing exactly how each program is being used can help you stretch an already tight budget even further.

Related: Can Your School Reduce Software?  

Making informed budget decisions in this climate can be tough, but usage data can help shed a light on where your CARES Act funds could be directed to help students stay connected to vital IT resources.