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The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Student fees should cover printing

Gabriel Fiorini
An angry individual kicks a printer while it displays “$$$” and requires money to function. Printing should be freely accessible for all students. (Gabriel Fiorini | Northern Star)

NIU students work hard to succeed academically while handling a multitude of challenges. Printing services should be free to show NIU’s mission to empower students educationally.

The use of paper resources as a requirement of academic success is a thing of the past. Plenty of students utilize online resources to complete assignments.

Blackboard Ultra is now being used by 75% of the instructional faculty, staff and graduate teaching assistants for 66% of all course sections, which includes 306 instructional staff and 364 course sections, according to NIU.

When students need to print something, the majority of the time it is for academic purposes. Students must pay for printed assignments, research papers and other study materials, adding, unnecessarily, to their expenses. 

Students currently pay 5 cents per page to print in black and white, while for color prints, students pay 12 cents, according to AnywherePrints.

Tyler Camling, sophomore finance major, uses a printer on the first floor of Founders Memorial Library. Printing on campus costs students five cents per page for black and white and 12 cents for color. (Sam Dion | Northern Star)

Genesis Miranda, a senior majoring in special education with an emphasis on visual impairments, said while the price for a page is not much, printing regularly can be costly for students.

“I think that if you’re printing once in a while, it’s not that big of a deal,” Miranda said. “But I know a lot of students are printing every day, and it’s not just a couple of pages, so all of it adds up.”

There is no need to print assignments that also get submitted online. Do one or the other – but not both. If assignments must be printed, that cost should be on NIU, not students.

“If it comes down to a professor wanting students to bring an article to class, just provide it for them. You know, take out the printing process in general,” Miranda said. “Either post it on Blackboard, or if you know it’s a resource that you’re using every year, then have hard copies of it and keep them around. Like, there’s no reason to have students print their own resources out for them just to throw it away later.”

Free printing services would, additionally, boost NIU’s equality and inclusiveness. It would promote convenience, equality and an all-inclusive education at NIU while reducing additional student costs.

“I think just having free access to printing might make it more convenient for a lot of students, because I know, I mean, it’s happened to me before where I know I don’t have money on my OneCard,” Miranda said. “Because I’m a part of the Honors program, I can easily go to their office and print something out. But not everyone has that resource, you know. And so I think that having free printing across campus will meet everyone’s needs, not just small populations of students.”

As students pay high student fees, which come at $92.26 per course hour – for up to 12 hours – a service like free printing for academic purposes should be included for all students.

Free printing for academic reasons at NIU is not only a question of convenience; students already pay high fees, so it seems appropriate and important to tear down financial barriers.

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