Budget maximization is a necessity for every school district. Most K-12 districts deal with some level of complication around purchasing new technology—whether they don’t have the budget for it or are simply unaware of the technology and financing options available to them. The districts that invest in new technology in a proactive and competitive manner often cover the costs strategically with private or federal financing options.
Maximizing Budgets for K-12 Institutions
Regardless of a district’s resources, the goal for most districts tends to be to do more with less. Budget maximization is the name of the game. While educational funding seems to always be in flux, things are looking up. Schools are primarily back to in-person instruction, but the pandemic revealed the necessity for schools to have a strong and proactive plan that includes reliable technology with hybrid capabilities. Back in April, the Biden administration submitted a draft proposal requesting a 40.8% increase in Department of Education funding to nearly $103 billion—of which nearly $36 billion would go toward Title I grants for low-income school districts. While Congress will be the final arbiter on whether these budget requests come through, the request promises a push toward greater educational funding—particularly with respect to digital learning initiatives.
This increased focus on public education budgets offers school districts the opportunity to assess their technology procurement strategies to be sure they’re investing in effective digital transformation. Any EdTech hardware purchase includes numerous factors to consider beforehand:
- Up-front cost of the hardware
- Expected lifecycle cost of ownership
- Functionality and features
- Integration capabilities with other systems
Another factor that is sometimes considered an afterthought but that is equally essential to consider up-front is warranty management and device protection plans. These plans can be a major benefit when choosing which devices to purchase and who to purchase them through, and can help districts predict the full cost of buying, maintaining, and recycling devices from the very beginning.
The Benefits of EdTech Warranties
Particularly for K-12 environments, warranties are an efficient, budget-friendly way to mitigate technology costs over a device’s life cycle.
As a budget planning tool, protection plans provide an important safeguard against the unexpected. They help manage the inevitable technology issues that will occur with long-term EdTech. Many school districts don’t have proactive plans to address these issues and instead take a reactive approach to technology replacement when something breaks. This is rarely cost-effective for K-12 budgets.
Warranty protection plans offer school districts contingency plans for when their equipment has problems. Educators may lose classroom time when critical computers and devices are down or out for repairs, and warranties allow school districts to resolve problems before they escalate.
Consumer vs. Commercial Warranties
There’s some debate about consumer warranties for electronics and whether the costs of extended warranties are justified, but in education, things work differently.
Educational environments put technology under substantial stress with daily ongoing use by students of all ages—many of whom may not be gentle. EdTech wears out quickly, and most consumer hardware brands don’t offer warranties for educational use.
This is a key factor to consider during hardware selection. At the very least, schools should consider commercial-grade hardware that offers warranty protection for heavy-duty educational usage. But even with commercial usage warranties, it’s important to read the fine print. Many usage aspects, such as screen protection or battery protection, may not come standard in the manufacturer’s warranty.
As such, supplemental plans that support the existing warranty can be the best way to safeguard an EdTech investment.
Supplemental Warranty Benefits
K-12 school districts can get a lot of mileage out of supplemental warranty plans offered by third-party partners like Virtucom. For example, our customizable three-tiered plan offers a flexible way for K-12 districts to secure their educational technology in a way that best meets their needs.
Our vPro standard plan offers important coverage beyond the manufacturer limits and includes elements like flexibility in coverage dates, spare parts, and online claim look-up and report management. With the higher level vPlus coverage, districts benefit from screen protection, battery protection services, theft/loss protection, and security/asset management.
At the Premium level, districts benefit from all-inclusive, no-questions-asked coverage, complete with unlimited claim incidents and even coverage for standard cosmetic wear and tear.
Many of these benefits don’t come standard in strict manufacturer warranties. And given that more K-12 schools now adopt integrated technology into their curriculum, there’s more technology to protect than ever before. Schools should consider all warranty options within their technology decision-making process and consider how an investment in a supplemental warranty can save them money in the long run.
Work With an All-in-One EdTech Warranty Provider
Virtucom is more than an EdTech partner. We’re in the business to provide peace of mind. Our device protection solution, Flex 360: ADP Re-imagined, is designed to defend your investments and help you manage uncertainties around technology use. Our processes give K-12 school districts complete confidence in their technology and assure that all district resources and assets are used efficiently. We are proud to partner with HP to provide you with devices that are optimized and secured to meet your K-12 needs, goals, and budget. Contact us to learn more about our extended warranty and protection options for EdTech.