Student Printing Policy

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Upon recommendation of the Information Technology Users Group, the college has adopted a new student printing policy.

This action was taken in response to steady increases in student printing and the increasing costs associated with that printing. For longer than any student now attending Lyon has been here, the college policy has been that 'academic printing is free'. The intent of that policy was for students to have easy access to printing in order to accomplish their academic work. Personal printing, which included almost all e-mail and web printing, cost students a nickel per page. Collecting that money was problematic from the very beginning and several years ago we gave up trying to enforce the nickel-a-sheet pricing for personal printing. Since then, students have enjoyed 'free' printing, for both personal and academic work. Throughout this period, copying cost students a dime a sheet at the coin-op or via credit on the mag stripe of your ID cards.

During this past fall semester, the Lyon student printing averaged about 300 pages per student (in the PC Lab or on one of the new copier/printers placed around campus). Several students printed over 2000 sheets this fall and about 50 printed nothing at all. Most of you will remember the stacks of paper that piled up directly beneath the PC Lab printers. We estimate that almost 40% of all student printing went directly to recycling, never leaving the room where it was printed. It seems clear that some form of accountability is necessary to reduce waste and its associated costs. Lyon is not alone with this problem. The cover story on the October 4, 2002, edition of the Chronicle of Higher Education listed the 'top ten' ways for colleges to cut IT costs. Number one was: "create limits or rules for students' printouts". All the private colleges I contacted in the fall about this issue either have initiated a per/copy pricing schedule of some sort or are grappling with what to do about spiraling student printing costs.

We realized that 'free' printing, for both personal and academic purposes, results in excessive waste and is too expensive to continue. We wanted to introduce accountability for all printing and encourage appropriate use of the college's facilities. We discovered that over 90% of all students printed less than 600 sheets per semester. The remaining 10% often far exceeded that amount. As a result, the following policy was recommended to the Cabinet and approved:

Lyon College recognizes that students need to print and copy paper documents in the course of doing academic work. The College also recognizes its responsibility to promote responsible use of the printers and copiers on campus. Accordingly, all full-time students will be allocated 600 'free' print images per semester. Part-time students will be given an allocation of 300 'free' print images per semester. Once the semester allocation is used up, students will be charged $.08 per copy, billed monthly to his or her student account.

Over the past few months, new copier/printers have been deployed around campus in areas easily accessible to students. Students can use these machines as copiers or as network printers. The 'free' print images allowed under the policy can be used to make printouts or copies. At any place on campus where you see a copier with an attached card-swipe terminal, students can make copiers or print documents previously directed to 'VPRINT'. (see the earlier Announcement  about VPRINT, which replaced last year's STUPRINT)

A web link is available for you to check your account. This link will require you to sign in and will then show you your account balance for the semester, as well as a listing of all printouts and copy sessions for the preceding 30 days. It's an easy way to keep tabs on your printing and copying!

If you paid to have 'credit' placed on your old ID card for the copiers, you can apply for a refund of the remaining balance. Bring your old card by the mailroom (basement of the Library) during business hours or call 870-307-7555 and ask for details.

If you have questions or comments, feel free to e-mail