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The University of Nebraska Looks to Replace Main Computer System


The state could be asked to pay millions of dollars to help replace an important computer system that thousands of University of Nebraska students and faculty use daily.

University officials say it could cost around $30 million to replace the Student Information System, a complex package of software programs used to manage almost every aspect of student affairs. Students use it for everything: registering for classes, arranging housing, admissions procedures, student loans and more.

“It’s the lifeblood of a college environment,” said Walter Weir, the university’s top technology official.

Earlier this year, Pennsylvania-based SunGard notified university officials it would stop maintaining the system after 2011 because the cost of maintaining it was exceeding revenues.

That leaves the university with no choice but to replace it, said Weir.

Bought by the university 15 years ago, it was crafted with programming language popular at the time but little-used now. Weir said many of the company staffers who maintained the system which he said is maybe the university’s largest and most expensive are nearing retirement age.

Representatives of SunGard could not immediately be reached to comment. Weir said roughly 50 to 100 colleges and universities may be in the same situation as NU.

University officials have been considering replacing the system for some time. The notice from SunGard has forced their hands.

Money to replace the system wasn’t included in the university’s state-funded budget this year, meaning the state Legislature could be asked to help.

On Friday, the university’s Board of Regents will consider whether to formally request $16 million from the state to partially fund the replacement.

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