BY: WESLEY ROBINSON
Eastern’s on-campus computer store will close at the end of the semester.
After about 10 years of selling computers and computer accessories, the store will be no more. A 25 percent-off sale will occur for the rest of the semester, said Richard Tussey, director of auxiliary services in the Information Technology Department.
“We didn’t have as much need on campus and the price made it where we could no longer compete,” Tussey said. “The staff at the computer store worked hard to be competitive and provide good service, but it was harder to compete.”
Tussey said the campus bookstore, owned by Barnes and Noble, would sell computers going forward. He said the changing retail market of big box stores and online retailers have decreased the need for a store on campus, as well as the changing technological ownership of students.
Tussey said students now come to college with laptops, smartphones, readers and tablets. Contrarily, when the computer store opened about 10 years ago, few students had their own computers.
“What’s changed in the past 10 years has been evident here,” Tussey said. “This was strictly a business decision. Cost recovery wasn’t happening.”
The computer store was no longer self-supporting, meaning the revenue generated didn’t pay for the product stocked in the store and for the salaries of employees. Tussey said the two positions are being reduced, but the two employees have the opportunity to participate in reallocation programs
“It’s a very unfortunate thing for the staff, but it’s the right thing for the students and the business of the university,” Tussey said.
Shelley Park, director of financial aid, said the computer store was a great convenience for students to buy computers on campus, but students can still access funding a computer loan, if their profile allows.
“A lot of students don’t have a credit card or a way to pay for [a computer] so it does help,” Park said. “Most times students have used their aid and don’t have [any other aid available] but students who haven’t maxed out on loans or have lots of scholarships and grants may still be able to do so.”
Park said about 45 students used the computer allowance this year. The Office of Student Financial Assistance and Scholarship will authorize up to $1,000 to be billed to a student’s account for the base cost of the attendance budget.
To further clarify, she emphasized that a computer loan can only be used once while a student is at Eastern and is not a separate loan, but it is an allocation of other loans to account for the cost of a computer.