The Maryland Education Enterprise Consortium (MEEC) has signed a new statewide agreement with Microsoft Corp. This renewed commitment extends to 2015 the agreement initially signed in 1999, giving more than 250 Maryland public, federal and private, K–12-and-higher education institutions, and more than 1.4 million students, access to Microsoft cloud and on-premise solutions at a discounted price, among other services.
“In a tough economy, the Consortium’s agreement with Microsoft has helped us provide a more consistent set of technologies supporting all levels of education across the state of Maryland,” said Don Spicer, associate vice chancellor and chief information officer, University System of Maryland. “Now that everyone has the opportunity to bring the latest technology to their campuses at competitive prices, the hope is that it will be easier for students to move from one segment of education to another because they will already be familiar with the products, and training for faculty and staff also becomes simpler.”
The MEEC agreement makes Microsoft technologies, such as the Windows operating system, Office, Microsoft Exchange Server and SharePoint Server as well as virtualization, infrastructure and security solutions, available to MEEC member institutions. In addition, MEEC offers the Microsoft Live@edu cloud-based communications and collaboration solution to schools statewide as part of an agreement signed in 2008.
Many schools across Maryland, including the Community College of Baltimore County, Montgomery County Public Schools, Carroll County Public Schools, Goucher College, Anne Arundel County Public Schools, John Carroll School and Salisbury University, are part of the growing roster of schools enjoying the cost-saving benefits of the Microsoft agreement. Currently, 90 percent of all schools in Maryland are utilizing Microsoft technologies as part of the consortium agreement.
The Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC), one of the largest colleges in the consortia, has three campuses and three extension centers with over 74,000 students and 2,678 faculty and staff. Today CCBC continues to offer many Microsoft products, including Live@edu, to its students as its official means of college communications and a key component of class work.
“We have seen a high degree of acceptance and usage of Microsoft products available to our students and faculty as part of the MEEC agreement,” said Darrow Neves, chief information officer, Community College of Baltimore County. “With tools such as Microsoft Office Web Apps and Windows Live SkyDrive, students are able to collaborate on projects and have greater access to technology that we had not been able to provide prior to the agreement between Microsoft and MEEC.”
Carroll County Public Schools has 44 schools with over 25,000 students and has been able to take advantage of very considerable cost savings as a result of the partnership between MEEC and Microsoft.
“Through the MEEC agreement and the use of Microsoft products, students in our school district are able to make a seamless transition from K–12 to higher education to the workforce, as they have access to the latest tools and technologies that are utilized in the real world,” said Gary Davis, chief information officer, Carroll County Public Schools. “In addition to cost savings, the level of service and support provided by Microsoft as part of the MEEC agreement has helped our students and staff maximize the benefits of having access to a wide range of software and hardware productivity options.”