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When Stephen Landry became chief information officer of Seton Hall University in South Orange, N.J., in 1996, the university had a pokey 56-kilobit telephone modem connection to the internet. One of Landry's first actions as CIO was to upgrade the connection to a T1 line, and he's been trying to stay ahead of technology ever since.

The challenge for today's colleges and universities is to reconcile their clear need to remain competitive while controlling their costs, which have been spiraling ever higher in recent years. Achieving academic effectiveness in more efficient ways is a matter of major concern at New York's Pace University, which led to the introduction of a tuition guarantee that locks in first-year rates over the course of five years.

Technology took center stage October 18-21 in Orlando for the annual Educause conference. More than 200 technology companies and other exhibitors were on hand to showcase their latest products and services for higher education. The full list of vendors and their products can be found at www.educause.edu/e05/CorporateParticipation/5108.

This fall a couple dozen students across the United States took up blogging for their alma maters. In occasional or weekly posts they offer slices of campus life that the Admissions office can share with prospective students and their parents. Because these are blogs and not recruiting brochures, the writers have a chance, it seems, to tell it like it is.

In terms of expansion planning, University of St. Francis had done everything right. The Catholic institution in Joliet, Ill., got input from city officials and residents. School officials even had the Cathedral Area Preservation Association's (CAPA) support, which was key with the campus falling within that city section.

Here's the good news: According to Chicago-area firm Teenage Research Unlimited, young people spent upwards of a whopping $169 billion in 2004. Those dollars can translate into significant business around colleges and can impact the way a school attracts Generation Y prospects.

The bad news: Figuring out how to build a retail portfolio makes for a real undertaking.

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It tantalizes the best millennial students with colorful and personalized brochures, screaming the student's name and interests.

With decreasing funding and increasing demand from students and faculty for the latest technology, smart spending of technology budgets is crucial at colleges and universities today. But IT decision makers are working hard to keep costs down and savings up while helping to further the missions of their schools.

Chances are, a few years ago you decided it was about time for your institution to create and maintain a professional, centralized website. You did away with the hodgepodge of independently designed pages and built the comprehensive, cohesive, well-branded site your students came to expect from your quality institution.

At New York's Manhattan School of Music, Linda McKnight is preparing to teach a Friday morning masterclass in double bass. It won't be much different from any other masterclass--there will be performances, demonstrations of technique by both instructor and students, and a healthy question-and-answer session--except for the fact that while McKnight gets ready in her classroom, her students are some 470 miles away at the Cleveland Institute of Music. They will participate via the internet.

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