a blog about technology management

Printing costs in the news

UPenn has resumed charging for printouts. I’m glad Augsburg has been able to keep printing free. The experiences of institutions similar to ours have generally been negative with print charging. Huge institutions may have less of a sense of community and personal accountability — who cares if you’re printing a book, no one knows who you are. For them, charges and quotas might be the best solution. But for small institutions, there are better options.

First, you have create a system to charge students for printing. That requires new hardware and software and time for linking it up to the accounting systems. There’s a bunch “savings” lost.

Second, charging for printing doesn’t really help change the real problem: student attitudes towards resource conservation. People just need to be less wasteful. Some institutions have seen an increase in printing after implementing a print quota (get 100 free, then pay) because students feel they need to spend their quota or lose it.

We’re moving our high-volume public printers to default to duplex (double-sided) printing. That will drastically reduce the number of pages coming out of it. Also, we’re talking to the student organizations concerned about resource conservation. The most effective way to change student attitudes is to have other students call them on it — not to have IT do something heavy-handed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Powered by WordPress | Designed by Elegant Themes