ASG launches academic software affordability initiative as part of ongoing course affordability effort

ASG+has+launched+an+effort+to+make+software+required+for+classes+more+affordable.+Data+from+a+survey+sent+out+earlier+this+month+will+be+used+to+make+recommendations+to+administrators+around+institutional+provision+of+softwares+that+place+excessive+financial+burden+on+students.
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ASG launches academic software affordability initiative as part of ongoing course affordability effort

ASG has launched an effort to make software required for classes more affordable. Data from a survey sent out earlier this month will be used to make recommendations to administrators around institutional provision of softwares that place excessive financial burden on students.

ASG has launched an effort to make software required for classes more affordable. Data from a survey sent out earlier this month will be used to make recommendations to administrators around institutional provision of softwares that place excessive financial burden on students.

Colin Boyle/Daily Senior Staffer

ASG has launched an effort to make software required for classes more affordable. Data from a survey sent out earlier this month will be used to make recommendations to administrators around institutional provision of softwares that place excessive financial burden on students.

Colin Boyle/Daily Senior Staffer

Colin Boyle/Daily Senior Staffer

ASG has launched an effort to make software required for classes more affordable. Data from a survey sent out earlier this month will be used to make recommendations to administrators around institutional provision of softwares that place excessive financial burden on students.

Amy Li, Assistant Campus Editor

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Associated Student Government is launching an initiative to make software required for classes more affordable.

ASG launched a survey on Nov. 15 to collect student feedback on software affordability. The data will be used to make recommendations to administrators around institutional provision of softwares that place excessive financial burden on students, ASG Vice President Emily Ash wrote in an email to The Daily.

The survey is a part of ASG’s ongoing course affordability effort, which includes not only the purchase of textbooks, but also other financially burdensome materials like online softwares, according to an ASG news release. Platforms such as Adobe Creative Cloud, Pearson MyLab, and WebAssign often result in additional expenses that disproportionately affect students of lower-income backgrounds.

Agneska Bloch, ASG VP of academics, said the current effort is a continuation of ASG’s long-term goal to make all courses accessible to everyone.

“While several options exist to help students mitigate textbook costs, including programs put in place by Northwestern, there is a lack of institutional support to bring down the cost of software.” Bloch said.

A resolution in support of the establishment of an Academic Software Affordability Committee was introduced in Senate on Nov. 14. The committee is responsible for conducting research from students using the data collected to develop a proposal urging the University to allocate more resources to alleviate undue software costs.

The survey will be available for students to complete over the next several weeks. The committee will analyze the data and present the results at the first ASG Senate meeting in Winter Quarter and the findings will determine future steps, the release said.

The resolution was partially in response to students who were repeatedly overwhelmed by the costs for required softwares in addition to textbooks. Weinberg sophomore Becky Chen said she considered dropping her Spanish class when she learned that the required textbook and the MySpanishLab software amounted to over $300.

“I’d already fulfilled my language requirement and I was just taking it because I wanted to learn Spanish,” Chen said, “but that’s just a ridiculous amount of money.”

ASG President Sky Patterson and Ash made course affordability a cornerstone of their ASG campaign last spring, and the initiative is “a concrete step in fulfilling those campaign objectives and improving the financial well-being of students on-campus, the release said.

Email: amyli2021@u.northwestern.edu

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