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Undergraduate print quota raised

Marisa Iati | Thursday, September 15, 2011

Students received more for their money this school year when the Office of Information Technology (OIT) increased the print quota.

The undergraduate quota rose from 1,000 sheets per year to 1,500 sheets per year, said Brian Burchett, manager of technology enhanced learning spaces for OIT.

For several years, the cost of printing one black and white sheet was 10 cents, Burchett said.

“We dropped the price to five cents a sheet [for black and white], so students’ print quota went up by 50 percent,” he said. “And if they run out of print quota and they have to purchase more, now t0he price for students is half what it used to be.”

The cost of printing one color sheet also decreased from 75 cents to 50 cents.

However, Students have an initial quota of $75 per school year instead of the $100 given in past years, according to OIT’s website.

Faculty members can no longer request increases in their students’ print quotas, Burchett said.

“We basically made it unnecessary for them to have to do that,” Burchett said. “Last year and in previous years, we ended up doing hundreds of requests for thousands of students. It just seemed to us and the faculty with whom we consulted that it was easier to give all students the additional quota to start with, rather than wait.”

OIT staff gathered feedback on the print system from the faculty members that requested increased quotas, Burchett said. The changes made this school year resulted from those conversations.

“The overwhelming response we got from faculty was they would love it if they no longer had to make these requests,” Burchett said. “It was busy work, and since we could give students more quota automatically at the start of the year, that made a lot of sense to the faculty to do it that way.”

Printing services are allocated in the OIT budget, Burchett said. OIT had to decrease other expenses in order to account for the increased printing costs.

“I don’t know for sure where we made up the difference,” he said. “I don’t think that the increase in printing costs came from one specific area. I think it probably came from a number of different areas. We didn’t cut any of our services back.”

Burchett said if students print double-sided, their print quotas are effectively stretched.

“If a student prints a single sheet of paper and they have one impression, it will cost them five cents of print quota,” Burchett said. “If they print on it double-sided, that sheet of paper will still cost them five cents of print quota. So, in theory, if a student did all their printing double-sided, the student could print as many as 3,000 pages.”

OIT has received very little feedback on the changes so far, but the feedback received was positive, Burchett said.

“The faculty appreciate that they no longer have to generate a list and send it to us,” he said. “Some of the students had questions about the monetary value of the print quota, but it seems like the webpage, the posters and the email that was sent out answered a lot of those questions.”

Burchett said he thought it was important for students to consider the printing service a public good.

“If all students help conserve on the printing, it’s good for the University,” Burchett said. “We’d like to remind students if you don’t need to print something, please consider not printing.”

Sophomore Marissa Bulso said she was pleased with the increased quota because her classes require a lot of printing.

“All the same, my quota seems to be disappearing at an alarming rate,” Bulso said. “I’m already down to $65. I suppose it seems low because last year we started at $100. I still wish printing assigned reading didn’t impact my quota so much.”

Sophomore Vincent Burns said he’s not sure how the increased quota will affect him.

“I didn’t come close to running out of paper last year, but that was probably because one of my professors got the class’s quota increased,” Burns said “Honestly, it will not make much of a difference for me, since I generally leave stuff online.”