By Olivia Hart
The advent of technology use for educational purposes in the last few decades has been largely unprecedented. However, Simmons students still print out dozens of pages a week — sometimes even every day. What effect does that have on their finances and their attitudes?
Simmons’s current printing policy states that all students start each semester with a $50 allowance for all of their printing.
A single-sided black and white page is 10¢, a double-sided page is 7.5¢ per side (so 15¢ for a whole page), a single-sided color page is 65¢, and a double-sided color page is 50¢ per side (so $1.00 for a whole page).
While these prices may seem reasonable on their own, they certainly add up over the course of a semester — often enough, the total cost exceeds the allotted $50.
Many students have voiced their concerns and experiences with the current policy. Running out of printing money before the end of the semester is a common worry.
“I feel like it isn’t adjusted fairly,” freshman Hanna Ali said. “The amount of printing per class should be taken into account – some classes/majors require you to print everything, but others do not.”
A popular suggestion among students who have had trouble with the policy would be to have a higher printing allowance for all students.
“I have so many notes and assignments that are mandatory to print, and it would be better for me if there was a higher limit,” freshman nursing major Patty Williams said.
Other students have suggested adjusting the allowance/printing requirements based on the courses a student is taking during a given semester.
“If there was some sort of waiver system, where everyone started out with $50 but if you typed in a certain class code (the teacher would provide this class code when they know their class is a high printing class), students could be given a little extra when their money got too low,” Ali said. Others suggested similar solutions, such as having leftover printing money roll over from semester to semester in addition to the $50 provided.
The initial Campus Print system and policy were introduced at Simmons in October 2011. Prior to the system’s implementation, students needed to pay for all of their printing out of pocket. The team in charge of financing the system chose the $50 allotment as an overall average estimated amount needed for all students, sourced from tuition.
David Bruce, the Senior Director of Technology Services at Simmons, was not part of the team that designed and implemented this policy six years ago, and thus didn’t know the exact reasons behind the printing prices and $50 allotment. All Simmons employees on that team have since left.
However, Bruce brought attention to the point that during the Fall 2016 semester, only about 10% of Simmons students (250 out of 3182) exceeded $50 in printing. Of those 250 students, the average overage amount was $15.20.
“Essentially, we are giving you something for nothing up to a certain limit,” Bruce said in regards to the $50 in printing money provided by Simmons. “That 10% of students [that went over] would be happy if they got free unlimited printing, but someone at the end of the day would have to pay for it,” Bruce said.
“We’re currently calculating printing costs for the next budget cycle, which starts in July,” he added, noting, “it’s hard to accurately estimate the true cost of printing in color, black and white, etc.,” across the board.
This may impact all faculty members who currently have unlimited printing allotments.
Bruce is open to hearing student concerns and suggestions for Simmons’s printing policy in the future.
He and his colleagues can be reached by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.