That's nothing. Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tennessee has an interesting policy to allow interconnect to the campus network.
When my first niece went off to school, several family members gave me money to purchase the parts needed for me to put a nice computer together for her to take off to school with her. In addition to a number of other pieces of hardware, I put a dial up modem and a NIC card in it. It was a fairly common one (in fact my PC has the same model in it).
When she got there, she called me and said that the folks at TNU said her NIC card was no good and they wanted to charge her ninety dollars to install a 3Com card in it.
I didn't believe it was defective and told her not to pay them to install that card. After a couple of days, she called me again and told me that they wouldn't hook her up until a 3Com card was installed.
I called the I.T. department at TNU and asked what was going on. I was told that the school policy said that only 3Com NIC cards could be used to connect to the campus network. Needless to say I was a little upset that they were going to make me drop another ninety dollars into that computer.
But, I wasn't going to let them get the money. I called around and found a deal on a 3Com card and had them ship it to her at school. Fortunately, she had a classmate that was a Saturday afternoon PC tech. He installed it for her and got her connected to the network.
I spoke to the dean at the school where I was taking computer networking classes. He told me that while this was completely unorthodox, that TNU was far from being the only school doing something so ridiculous. His own daughter went to a school that required a specific brand (and I don't remember what he said it was except that it wasn't a 3Com card). She had to fork out fifty dollars for the card and sold it to another student when she graduated.
I wish someone in a position to do so would blow the whistle on this practice of soaking the students for the money for these cards. It's unethical at best.
Fred[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Other than the fact that she apparently was not able to hook herself up to the network, I wonder how the school would know what was or wasn't there. In other words, if she now were to open the computer and install the original card in there instead, how would the school ever find out, or do they search dorm rooms looking for contraband hardware, etc? PAT]