Colleges campaign for equal printing costs


By Karen Liu, Staff Writer

Some University students receive more printing cost breaks than others; however, several colleges on campus are campaigning for equal printing rates campuswide. 

“We in (the College of) Media have started conversations a couple of years ago with some of the other colleges about how to share some printing infrastructure,” said Mike Bohlmann, chief digital officer of the College of Media, “So it’ll be easier to run things because you have some commonalities between the colleges.”

Bohlmann said that the long-term goal is for students to pay the same for black-and-white printing and share the same billing process all over campus.

Although no students have free printing on campus, the rate of printing can vary by major and printing location.

Many majors on campus pay a tuition differential, meaning certain majors might have to pay more than others. Part of the extra tuition is used to provide a free printing quota for the students.

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Eric Meyer, associate professor in the College of Media, said every student has some degree of free printing,  depending on the classes they take.

“Each class has a different number (of pages) that is based on actual experiments on how much somebody might need,” he said.

The system used for printing will also log the items printed to ensure nobody is abusing the printing privileges. He said doing so will ensure availability for students in need of printing for their curriculum.

“If we just have labs that have open printing in them and everybody can walk in and do anything, before you know it, these (fraternity) brothers are going to be in there printing their party invitations for free and then it won’t be available for the kids who need it,” Meyer said.

In an email, Bohlmann said that for the College of Media, journalism students and advertising students have a quota of $11 because they are paying a tuition differential. Other students in the college have $7.70 and non-media students have $3.30.

While most students on campus print through a printing system called Papercut, engineering students can do their printing through the Engineering Work Station labs, which have 100 locations on campus. At these labs, they receive a printing quota, the fee of which is included in their tuition differentials.

According to Bill Bell, executive director of marketing and communications in Engineering, the college currently provides engineering students with a quota of 300 pages for $24 for freshmen and sophomores, 400 pages for $32 for juniors and 500 pages for $40 for seniors.

Steven Harris, a freshman in Engineering, said that he prefers having a quota so that he doesn’t have to worry about paying each time.

“I don’t have to worry about ‘this assignment is coming up, do I have enough money in my student account to pay for it?’” Harris said.

Engineering students are also given the option to purchase 100 additional pages of printing for eight dollars. This means that engineering students pay two cents less for each page of printing compared to students from other majors. The normal rate of printing is 10 cents per page.

Jenna Kurtzweil, sophomore in LAS, said she has a lot of required printing for her course curriculum. As an English major, she is not offered any deal on printing.

“Last semester, I was in a class where we’re printing out few packets of reading every week, and it builds up after awhile.” she said.

However, Kurtzweil said that many professors are conscious about saving students money by offering online versions of material needed in class. But she thinks that having a printing quota is more preferable than her situation right now.

Students living in University Housing are offered less expensive printing rates. Printing at one of the 23 dorm libraries locations has a rate of seven cents per page.

“One of the principles we reached in the long-term is that we like to get it where students pay the same for black and white print-outs where ever they are on campus,” Bohlmann said.

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