Make Adobe free for all students

London Lack, Columnist

Editor’s note: In a previous version of this story, Kayla Quilantang, who is one of several students working to pass legislation that makes Adobe free, said students at ACC pay $5 for Adobe, which is incorrect, as ACC says it offers the software for $10 to students enrolled in courses that require the use of Adobe and $50 to all other students. The story also incorrectly stated that the software is free at most UT-affiliated institutions and colleges across the nation. The Texan regrets this error. 

Adobe is a premier software advertised as an academic and career-enhancing resource. Architecture, radio-television-film, journalism and graphic design are just a few majors and industries that require Adobe. As such an important resource, the software is free at other colleges across the nation, including UT-San Antonio — but not at UT-Austin. 

Adobe should be free for all UT-Austin students, as it is a nearly-universally required skill for the modern workforce.

David Ryfe, the director of the School of Journalism and Media, said that Adobe is used  extensively by journalism students. 

“One of the things you’re going to learn if you want to get a job as a journalist is that no one’s going to pay you just to write anymore,” Ryfe said. “You need to be able to use audio, you need to use photography and you need to be able to use a video camera and learn how to stitch all this stuff together into stories for different platforms.” 

Ryfe calls this new approach “multimedia journalism,” and all of these skills are primarily taught using Adobe.

Currently, UT-Austin students can purchase a $195.95 Adobe subscription from the campus computer store. This subscription lasts a single school year and is a discounted rate from the $599.95 annual version. 

Because students already devote significant money toward tuition and other school-related expenses, they shouldn’t be required to pay for an additional Adobe subscription. 

Kerryn Xu, computer science and Plan II freshman, is the executive associate for Apricity Magazine — UT’s official literary arts magazine. Xu heavily relies on Adobe to organize and design various issues of the magazine.

“So the designers (for Apricity) have to get Adobe totally on their own, which I didn’t realize until I joined and started actually designing the pages,” Xu said

Like many students, Xu justifiably does not want to pay Adobe’s expensive monthly subscription fees. To circumvent the issue, she uses a different email every two weeks to acquire multiple free trials. 

“I’ve had to redesign my pages every single time I’ve made a new account,” Xu said. “It’s really hard if you don’t want to pay (for Adobe).”

Ryfe also explained that UT-Austin students who need Adobe for their majors can only access it for free through on-campus computers, creating another barrier for student usage and limiting the accessibility of a required tool. 

Kayla Quilantang, an architecture and music senior and president of the Architecture Student Council, said this also creates a safety concern.

“Students are having to spend several all nighters in a random campus basement to use this software if they can’t pay that subscription fee, which leads to students walking home at 4 a.m. in West Campus,” Quilantang said.

Quilantang is one of several students working to pass legislation that makes Adobe free. 

“We feel like it’s kind of ridiculous that UT-Austin, (which) boasts itself as one of the richest universities in the nation, is not providing its students this relief from financial stress,” Quilantang said. 

However, these financial and accessibility issues could be remedied by making Adobe free for  all UT-Austin students. Because other UT system institutions already offer this valuable amenity, the University must immediately follow suit. It’s time that the resources students at other Texas colleges enjoy are equally integrated into the UT-Austin experience. 

Lack is a dance and Plan II freshman from San Angelo, Texas.