Colleges and universities have always made money from offering dorm room landline phone services to students, but those profits have turned into money pits recently. Many students have turned to cell phones, which means they aren’t buying phone services from the school. To counter this trend, many schools are aggressively entering the wireless business.
The University of Cincinnati, for example, has started a program which offers every incoming freshman a free Nokia phone. Students pay for airtime, but can also access academic and campus information, and campus emergency services on the phone. Montclair State University goes a step further by giving freshmen a phone and a semester of free service. Phone service for the second semester costs $186.
Montclair students can use the phone to check class schedules of news, check out specials at campus bars and restaurants and can even use GPS to locate shuttle buses. The phones also have a Guardian service which students can activate to let school officials track their location via GPS if they feel threatened.