Printing costs lead to more online useage, less paper

Since Missouri Southern’s introduction of printing costs in the fall of 2010, most faculty find it has been a positive change, whereas students have found it to be quite an adjustment.

With a charge of 10 cents for grayscale prints and a charge of 50 cents for color prints, more students are starting to submit their homework assignments online through Blackboard or e-mail.

“I had noticed in my class students were e-mailing me assignments instead of turning them in during class because they didn’t have any money on their copy card,” said Chad Stebbins, director of the Institute of International Studies.

Similarly, some professors are joining the online world along with their students. In many classes, students are able to complete quizzes and assignments online and send them in through Blackboard as assigned.

Because visual handouts are still needed for educational purposes, some professors prefer students to print out their own copies, at home or on campus. Although printing now costs money for students on campus, Leslie Parker, Spanish professor, says that each department has a budget of which a certain amount of money can be spent on paper.

“When handing out copies in class, it is usually necessary to print extra copies in case someone misplaced their first one,” said Parker. “But, if it’s on Blackboard, a student can print it off themselves, and then I don’t have 10 extra wasted copies to recycle later.”

Chris Owens, Campus Card Service manager, said that last spring approximately 69,000 pages were printed and were never picked up from the library.

“We could no longer do ‘free’ anymore,” said Owens. “It got to the point where that cost could not be supported any longer without some expense recovery. It’s also environmentally more friendly.”

Owens said that because printing was free in the past, people from the general public could go into the library and print off anything they wanted and not have to pay for it. Although the public may still use the library printers, they are now issued a copy card, specially made for non-student users.

Even so, one of the biggest issues for Southern students is in-class printing and after-hours printing. When the computer lab is open, sometimes the campus card center is not. Nevertheless, students are required to have money on their cards to print any time.

“If I’m on campus and forget to print something off ahead of time,” said Eric Lake, senior at Missouri Southern, “I’ll probably have to go without it or go home real quick and print it off.”

Wendy McGrane, Spiva Library Director, says that there is no doubt that students are printing less.

“Of course there was some unhappiness and some push back initially, because there was a change,” said McGrane. “However, students have been understanding for the most part that there are costs that have to be recovered with regards to printing. It was just a matter of learning the new system.”

Although printing prices are not set to increase anytime soon, Owens said the printing fee is here to stay. Instead of implementing a student fee for every student to pay, the prices will remain 10 cents or 50 cents per page, depending on the type of print desired.