$7-per-semester printing subsidy to return for 1 year


Sophomore sociology major Laura Commings uses a printer Wednesday in Founders Memorial Library. Students will have their $7-per-semester printing subsidy, which was set to end this spring, extended for one year.

By Satta Kendor

Students will be allocated a printing subsidy of $7 per semester for one more academic year from funds intended for computer lab maintenance.

Chief Information Officer Brett Coryell said $150,000 to $250,000 will be used to extend the printing subsidy for another year. The decision to extend the printing subsidy was made several weeks ago in response to a resolution by the Student Association, Coryell said.

The resolution called for the printing subsidy to be reinstated and increased for the 2015-16 academic year. After the resolution was received, Coryell said he worked within IT to figure out a way to continue to fund the printing subsidy for another year.

“I was influenced by the voice of the students,” Coryell said. “You know my position, you know my division as IT; we’re a service organization, and to the best of our ability it’s our job to serve the users of campus technologies.”

Two years ago, there was a decision to eliminate the printing subsidy gradually, Coryell said. The subsidy was to be gone by the fall.

The opposition to the elimination of the printing subsidy started in the fall when Amanda Shaffer, senior elementary education major, petitioned Coryell on Change.org to reinstate the $14-per-semester subsidy from the 2013-14 academic year. Coryell said he did not want to take action from a petition only supported by a few hundred people because it may not have properly represented the 20,000 students at NIU.

The SA was given the task to tell Coryell what the student body felt was most significant in terms of technology in the fall. The SA Senate created a survey through which senators gathered students’ opinions on what the IT Division should allocate money toward.

“Overwhelmingly, there was a response towards a printing quota, so that was kind of the main driver of this decision,” said SA Senate Speaker Dillon Domke.

The SA discovered through the survey students wouldn’t mind if there wasn’t a printing subsidy, but students rely too heavily on printed assignments in classes for the subsidy to be taken away, Domke said.

Senior kinesiology major Meera Patel said instructors and professors have too many assignments that require printing, and they should instead focus on having students submit assignments electronically.

The elimination of the printing subsidy for the 2016-17 academic year is “not fair because we technically pay for everything and now one more thing is being added to our bursar’s account,” Patel said.

The SA will work with Coryell and organizations during the summer to limit printing and to make sure classrooms are increasing their use of technology and depending less on paper assignments.

“I think the Senate is happy about it,” Domke said. “… It’s something that we fought for this year to get back and it’s back … .

Yes, it might only be for another year, but … it gives us time now to come up with something that can be sustainable.”