Free printing was a luxury offered to PSC students for the last two years; a new printing fee was introduced in the 2017 Fall semester. This policy, introduced by the WVU Morgantown campus, has put a hindrance on some students’ abilities to get their assignments in.
The individuals most affected by this are the students. Many students have trouble getting their assignments in due financial inability.
Printing costs 6 cents per document and can only be paid through Mountie Bounty. The minimum amount of money you can add to your Mountie Bounty at time is $10. This raises problems for some commuter students who often don’t even carry their student IDs.
“It wouldn’t be that big of deal if I could pay with coins, card or something. But I literally have no other reason to add anything to my Mountie Bounty,” said PSC sophomore Kaitie Brown.
The Mountie Bounty minimum seems to be an issue. While on-campus students can use their Mountie Bounty to do laundry and other necessities, commuter students don’t want to throw ten dollars into an account when they don’t even know if they’ll need to use it all to print.
PSC sophomore Lexi Woods used to print out PowerPoint slides to aid her in her studying, but she feels that she cannot afford to keep up her study habit with the fee in place.
“When you have multiple classes that all use PowerPoints, it really starts to add up, and now I just don’t print anything,” said Woods.
The printing fee has been felt campus-wide by students and faculty alike. Most professors have had to give up their personal office printers. Some professors have become more lenient in how they accept assignments because some students can’t afford to print.
“I’m not sure that saving a few dollars is worth the inconvenience,” said Professor Ruth Upton.
She has had to start accepting her students’ assignments through eCampus, but she still feels that the fee is unfair for some students.
English Professor Steve Oberlechner has started making accommodations for students because of the fee as well.
“I’ve had to become more flexible on deadlines and make exceptions for some students due to financial issues,” said Oberlechner.
Oberlechner has felt the weight of the fee in his creative writing classes where he would traditionally have students come in with a copy of their work for all of their peers. But due to the implementation of the printing fee, his students have been wanting to email their work to their peers.
“Whether it’s the author or the reader at some point someone will have to take the responsibility to print out the document,” said Oberlechner.
Although the printing fee is seen as an inconvenience to many students and faculty, it has resolved an immense waste problem on the PSC campus.
“Before students had to pay to print, there was a ridiculous amount of waste,” said the PSC Library Technical Assistant Nicholas Gardner.
Gardner approves of the new printing fee. When students were able to print for free, there was an inordinate amount of wasted materials.
Gardner told of an occurrence where a past student tried to print out an article from the internet but could not figure out how to get the printer to work and accidentally printed out 700 pages of the document.
“We would throw stacks of paper away all of the time,” Gardner said. He believes that the fee has put a stop to occurrences like this by making the students print more consciously.
The fee has also allowed for the school to have better printers for the students to use. Before, PSC had average desktop printers that one may use in their own home. When students would be printing anywhere between 30,000 and 40,000 pages of paper a month, the printers were not equipped to handle the bulk of documents that would go through them daily. This caused them to break down on a consistent basis.
The school now has more industrial printers that can effortlessly print in bulk and even allow students to scan documents into their emails.
PSC Executive Director of Campus Operations Harlan Shreve explained that the new fee makes a lot of economical sense, but the school has tried their best to help the students. He explained that free printing is offered in the computer labs for any student doing assignments, but the school thought it would be in everybody’s best interest to cut back on “frivolous printing.”
While the change to pay-to-print can be hard, it is important to remember that this is not a new concept on the PSC campus. PSC has only offered free printing for the last two years while the coin operator in the library was broken.
“This whole thing is only hard because of the way that it is happening. It’s just change. Eventually people will forget the luxury and get used to how things are,” said PSC Sociology Instructor Catie Bridges.