University of Delaware Printing Committee


Questions and answers about charging for printing




Toby Pierce  Coll. of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Rich Duggan 
Tom McCone
Suzanne Potts 
College of Arts and Science
Dept. of Foreign Languages and Literature
Dept. of English
Sheldon Demby College of Business and Economics
Chris Cook College of Engineering
Susan Hall College of Health and Exercise Sciences
Joanne Jennings College of Human Resources, Education and Public Policy
Sandra Millard
Gregg Silvis
University Libraries
Carol Anderer
Leila Lyons
Carol Jarom
IT-User Services
Karl Hassler
Earl Davis
IT - Network and System Services
Amy Carpenter 
John Cordrey
Kristen Stoeber 
Katie Heinen
Delaware Undergraduate Student Congress
Bill Fitzpatrick Administrative Services - Financial & Information Services

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Send mail to the committee

1.  When and why did the university feel the need to form the Printless program?


The PrintLess program began in Spring 2002 to address the dramatic increase in printing in computing sites during the past few years, despite increased ownership of printers. In response to a survey in Fall 2002, 98% of students reported owning a personal computer. Of those, 89% reported owning a printer, yet 64% report using computing sites primarily to print.  The purpose of the program is to raise awareness about and constrain paper consumption for printing and to institute a charging mechanism for printing.  The PrintLess Program web site provides statistics on consumption, tips on alternatives to printing, and raises awareness of the environmental impact and how to reduce unnecessary printing.  Also, essential additional services such as site licensing for anti-virus protection compete for the same dollars currently spent on printing consumables.[Return to Top]
2.  The UDaily article mentioned other universities that charge for printing.  Do you know of any or is UD modeling their program after one already in place at another institution/ university? The article in UDaily mentioned that many other universities charge a technology fee which typically covers many more costs than printing.  UD does not have a technology fee.  In many instances, universities also charge a printing fee.   At the printing committee’s web site  are links to a comparison of rates that different institutions charge for printing and to a listserv where there is discussion of how printing is managed, what they use, how much they charge, etc.   UD is not modeling its program on that of any specific institution. Characteristics of other programs are used to inform program development at UD. 
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3.  Why does Information Technologies need to lower costs:  overbudgeting, purchasing new computers, pressure from the University, anything?


The University is committed to make communications “electronic first” and reduce the use of paper, especially paper wastage.  The University’s budget has been reduced and the budgets of some departments (including IT-User Services) have been reduced. After being fairly steady for several years, print volume has increased dramatically.  Approximate figures are
        1997-1998: 4.1 million
        1999-2000: 4.5 million
        2000-2001: 4.9 million
        2001-2002: 6.1 million 
A Spring 2002 survey indicated that 60% of students who own printers, use the sites for printing.  With 15,000 students that means that 9,000 use the sites so that on average each one is printing between 600 and 700 pages!   [Return to Top]
4.  If students weren't charged for printing in the past, what happened that all of the sudden the implementing charges is an issue? The volume of printing in computing sites has risen dramatically,  despite the fact that well over 80% of students report that they have their own printers.  A large amount of what is printed is wasted. Also, there are other service demands being made on budgets. 
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5.  Doesn't student tuition or other fees already cover the cost of printing?  Tuition only covers a portion of the costs of an education and there is no direct relationship between tuition or other student fees and IT's operating costs. [Return to Top]
6.  Instead of charging students for printing, why isn't mandated front and back printing put into effect? We have all our printers set to default to duplex (both sides) printing.  It is possible to change a specific job to print simplex (one side) but  most people are using the default.  Note that while duplex printing will save paper, the amount of toner used is the same.  [Return to Top]
7.  When will students begin to pay for printing?  Has the committee discussed guidelines as of now? Charging for printing in IT computing sites will begin in the Fall 2003 semester.  The time between now and then will be used to measure usage and establish an appropriate rate.  Other matters under consideration are a print limit before charging and use of financial aid funds for printing. We also need time to thoroughly test the entire system.  [Return to Top]
8.  Is the printing committee considering any other plans to regulate the computing sites?  Are there any plans to charge for access to the computing sites themselves? Some departments that run computing sites are observing IT's experiences since they are experiencing similar increases in usage.  There are no plans to charge for access to computing sites.    [Return to Top]
9.  When there is a charge, what type of payment plans will be available to students? Will they be able to put it on their semester bills? Pay with Flex? Change? Cash? Credit Card? When we do start charging, we are planning to charge using Flex.
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10.  How and when is the system for charging for printing going to be implemented?


In Spring 2002, IT set computing site printers to use the duplex option by default, and began raising awareness about paper consumption for printing, and the need for restraint, through the PrintLess program.   The release stations went in over the summer and in Fall 2002 students were required to "release" a job for printing.  Over winter session, we installed swipe card readers and in Spring 2003 users were required to use a valid University ID to authorize the release and printing of a job.  In Fall 2003,  UD#1 Flex accounts will be charged for printing.
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11.   What does a student have to do in order to print a job in a computing site?


A student must have a valid University ID card in order to print in a computing site. The University ID card  has been chosen as the authorization to release print jobs.  It is through this authorization that UD#1 Flex accounts will be charged for printing in the Fall 2003 semester.  University ID cards have been required to release jobs in all IT computing sites since February 14, 2003.
A student prints a job from a computing site system, it goes first to a print queue.   At a separate  “release station” the print job owner selects the print job from a display, swipes a valid University ID card, and the job is printed.  The "release stations" ensure that only necessary jobs are printed.  The release stations limit the size of job that can be sent and will delete any queued jobs that have not been released within a set time. [Return to Top]
12.  If students do not have their ID card, will they still be able to print from the computing sites? No, everyone who uses these sites to print must use a valid University ID card to release print jobs. 
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13.  After a student swipes their ID card, what information will be taken from the card?
From the card and the print release station we get the student identifier and the cost of the job based on its size and whether it was simplex or duplex.   [Return to Top]

14.  If a student prints a large amount of paper, will there be any repercussions from the university?
Experience thus far shows that the majority of students that print in sites print 15 pages or less per job.  A very few students print jobs of more than 25 pages.   [Return to Top]
15.  Most of the material printed in computer labs, and microcomputing sites are academically related (usually articles from professor's websites) instead of charging per page, it might be better for professors to make a course packet and sell it in the bookstore rather than charge per page. This is certainly an option for the faculty to use, but there are advantages in providing information electronically, especially with information that is time sensitive or where you want to provide recent research, and because it can be accessed easily and at any time.
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16.  Is it true that students may no longer be able to send and receive attachments through e-mail in the computing sites. This is not true.  One way to avoid printing something and giving it to someone on paper is to send it to the person as an e-mail attachment!
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17.  How much does the University spend a year on printers in the computer labs? (ink, paper, maintenance, etc.)


The meeting minutes at the printing committee's web site  give a summary of the campuswide situation.  In the 2000-01 year, IT alone paid almost $100,000 for paper and toner alone. Maintenance on those printers costs about $400/year and we upgrade them every few years.  Staff are also required to operate them. 
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18.  What are some of the other cost-cutting measures the university has taken to keep printing costs down (double sided pages, telling students to limit their printouts to one per document, etc.) We've had signs about limiting printouts to one copy in the sites for years.  This Spring we made duplex (double-sided) printing the default in our labs.  For more on our education program, see the PrintLess program site.
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19.  Does the printing committee foresee the university saving money in printing  expenses after the spring semester?  Will the University use the stations as a source of revenue? Printing costs will be recovered. 
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20.  If it will cost money to print out documents, do you feel this will benefit students in any way? It will certainly make the students aware of what they are printing and question the need for having that information on paper. There's a tremendous amount of information available electronically and excellent access to that from many places on campus, so one does not always need to have that on paper.  And presumably, if we kill fewer trees now, there will be more of these for the future.
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21.  Do you think it is fair to begin charging students for a necessity which they have been accustomed to getting for free? Many years ago, before there were computers, students would bring typewriters to college and supply their own paper.  Nobody expected the University to supply the paper.  Unfortunately we can not afford to continue offering printing for free.
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22.   Does the cost of 9 cents a page reflect the actual cost of just the paper and ink, or an inflated cost that will help to pay for other things, such as electricity, the program itself, etc.?
The 9 cents per page was chosen because that is what Kinko's charges.  We will continue to monitor usage of consumables, and our other costs, and implement a charge that reflects the cost of delivering the service.
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