Years ago, universities could make good money serving as mini phone companies, said Sherry Manning, director and CEO of Educational Communications and Consortia Incorporated, a national university telephone billing service.
Universities became wholesalers, charging slightly more than they paid for service but less than local carriers.
Eventually, however, students started using calling cards and long distance dialing because the advertising was aimed at the youth population, Manning
"And now, everyone is shocked that students use the Internet and cell phones as much as they do," she
..."Schools are saying, I am an educator, not a telephone service," Manning said. The University of California, Santa Barbara
has lost $500,000 in the last two years.Chico State has lost $400,000 in the last year.At the University of Rhode Island
, student telephone billing has dropped from about $800,000 a year five years ago to just $100,000.
As a result, some college campuses are going all wireless, dropping landline telephones and equipping students with cell phones and handheld computers.Those campuses include Washington's American University
and the University of Southern Mississippi
Others, like the University of Wyoming
, may invent their own calling cards for students.