By Larrisa Beth Turner
Software and apps aren’t cheap — especially ones needed to create and complete higher education coursework.
But University of Utah students, faculty, and staff don’t necessarily need to pay full cost.
Through campus-wide agreements with major software companies, UIT’s Office of Software Licensing (OSL) is able to provide the U community free or discounted licenses to dozens of programs. OSL, for instance, offers students no-cost access to Adobe Creative Cloud, Microsoft Office, or National Instruments LabVIEW, as well as significant discounts for EndNote, Endpoint Protection Advanced, Origin Pro, SAS JMP/JMP Pro, SAS Educational Analytics Suite, and a MathWorks package that includes MATLAB, Simulink, and 49 companion products.
The number of students obtaining and using those software products, however, is just a small fraction of the U's student body, OSL Vendor Manager Bill Lutz said.
According to university data, 1,179 students purchased a MathWorks MATLAB Total Academic Headcount (TAH) license during the 2017-18 license term. Lutz figures that’s less than 10 percent of the potential user group. Some 11,000+ students in engineering, biological and life sciences, mathematics, physical sciences, and business management and administrative services are eligible to use MATLAB and Simulink to analyze and visualize data, develop algorithms, run simulations, generate code, and more.
“As you can see we have a significant student usage growth opportunity. This also applies to all of the other software products that are available to students,” Lutz said.
Because the price of the license is based on forecasted sales, as the license usage numbers increase, OSL is able to lower the licensing cost to users, Lutz said.
The current MathWorks single-user academic license costs $30 for students and $135 for employees for the licensing term, or September 1 through August 31 each year. But if more people purchased MathWorks through the campus-wide agreement, OSL would offer a lower price per license.
“If we could increase the number of students purchasing this license from our current 10 percent to, say, 20 percent, we could decrease the license unit cost to users next licensing term,” Lutz said.
But even at the current cost, the university has passed on a considerable cost-savings to U students, faculty, and staff.
If purchased from MathWorks directly, Lutz said, students could pay hundreds of dollars more annually, while employees could pay thousands more — “and they still won’t have access to some of the same products that are available under our agreement.”
Purchase a license
To purchase a MathWorks MATLAB Total Academic Headcount license, visit software.utah.edu and select Shop for Software in the right-hand corner. After entering your uNID and password, you will be redirected to a page where you can select the type of license you need.
Note: Since most campus agreement licenses have annual start and end dates, those purchasing a license should pay special attention to the license expiration date prior to making a purchase. OSL does not prorate licenses purchased late in the licensing term.