University Libraries Continue to Offer Free Printing Services

The University Libraries continue to offer students, faculty, and staff free printing service with a semester limit of 500 pages, where a page is defined as the printing of one side of one sheet of paper.

When someone using the Libraries’ printing services exceeds the allocation of 500 free pages, an electronic tally is kept and a charge of 5¢ per exposure over 500 pages is charged through the Bursar’s Office at the end of the semester.

Free printing is limited to students, faculty, and staff so that campus organizations are not included in the free print allocation and are charged 5¢ per page beginning with the first exposure.

Students and faculty may check personal print balances 24/7 by using the conveniently located Computers and Printing link on the University Libraries’ homepage, shown in the right column. Similarly, a link is displayed prominently at the bottom right of the Student Research Resources page. The print balance displayed is current through the previous day at midnight. Our users with guest accounts can print up to 20 free pages per day.

Criteria for the 500-page limit for free printing is based upon data from the past several semesters. For example, during fall and spring semesters 2010-2011, a total of 4,860,704 pages were printed. Of this printing, during the fall semester, 94.1% of 15,236 students, faculty, and staff who used the service printed fewer than 500 pages. Similarly, 96.1% of the 14,435 who used the service printed fewer than 500 pages during spring semester.

The University Libraries provide students and faculty with access to more than 420 computer workstations, including 37 Mac units. There are 12 high-quality, fast laser printers that print documents from those workstations as well as wirelessly processed documents from personal laptops.

Bracken Library is open 120.5 hours weekly, with longer hours immediately before and during final exams, to support academic achievement, research, and learning.

Purpose of the Print Allocation and Printing Alternatives

In establishing the printing allocation, we understand that students have varied printing needs, and we try to accommodate those needs whenever possible. While the university has imposed cost containment to reduce spending, the free allocation is still worth $25 in printing, and the allocation of 500 free exposures is still well above the highest average number of pages printed by graduate and undergraduate students during the past several semesters.

The purpose of the allocation is primarily to allow students to print documents found in the Libraries’ digital databases that are part of library research and that cannot be photocopied on a copy machine. We understand that students still need to print other classroom materials and encourage students to use the remainder of their print balances for those purposes, or to rely on services such as iLocker, thumb drives, Dropbox, or Google Docs, among other technologies, to store the documents digitally to avoid printing those materials.

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