Students adjust to printing fees

Sanah Baig

DeKALB | This semester, students have to load money onto their OneCard if they want to use NIU’s printers because of an elimination in printing quotas.

“I was surprised, because I had to print off a bunch of stuff for class and saw that I only had $6, and now I’m already down to $2 and it’s already been a week and a half [into the semester],” graduate student Sarah Bresnahan said.

NIU’s printing program, Anywhere Prints, will charge 7 cents to print black and white pages and 25 cents to print color pages. Scanning pages to a jump drive or email is free, according to the Division of Information Technology’s website.

Since 2012, printing quotas have been steadily reduced in hopes of decreasing university spending and becoming more eco-friendly, resulting in no stipend for printing, according to a Nov. 26, 2012, Northern Star article.

“I understand the mindset of training people to not have any money for printing,” sophomore English major Anthony Ortiz said. “But we’re already spending a lot of money buying textbooks, paying tuition and room and board to be here, so it would be nice if [the printing stipend] would be provided by the school since there’s no other way to print things on campus [for free].”

Prior to fall 2012, NIU provided unlimited printing to students, according to an April 27, 2015, Northern Star article. During the 2012-13 academic year, the stipend was limited to $21 per semester. In the 2013-14 academic year, it was cut to $14 per semester. During the 2014-15 academic year, the stipend was cut to $7 a semester.

Professors can utilize Blackboard, NIU’s online course management system, to post and receive papers online to reduce printing. Bresnahan said she does not think this is a complete solution.

“Every major has worksheets or [papers] that they have to print out, and it’s a requirement for class,” Bresnahan said. “I think it’s kind of silly that we’re having to pay even more money to print things for class when we’ve already spent how much on tuition.”

Ortiz said not having a printing stipend impacts how he budgets his income.

“I can see where I would be in trouble with just living,” Ortiz said. “I’ll have to use my Huskie Bucks to print stuff off and sometimes I need that [money] for food and to live. It makes the practicality of Huskie Bucks less convenient if I have to constantly spend money on printing pages every week.”

Students can deposit money at bit.ly/2c4xpq6 or at OneCard ID Services on the ground floor of the Holmes Student Center.

“I’m definitely going to be more conscious about what I print,” Bresnahan said. “I’m going to try and use my computer as much as I can, but some things you just can’t avoid having to print.”