Some students push to print more

Katherine Wade

Students in some majors are struggling with their annual free print allocations.

Last semester, Atlanta junior Cedric Jackson took 18 hours. Then he took three hours of winter courses. Now, he has 13 hours and zero dollars left of his print allocation.

“I can’t even print out my study guides, notes, etc. for class,” he said. “My school work is suffering because I can’t print.”

Jackson, a health care administration major, said that when his print allocation ran out, he started looking for a way to get more money. He has contacted his advisor, his department head, and John Bowers, director of Academic Technology, hoping to boost his allotment. But he has been unsuccessful.

Students are only given one free allocation per year, Bowers said.

Full-time undergraduate students receive $75 in free print allocation per year — an amount equivalent to 1,500 pages at five cents per page, according to WKU’s Information Technology website.

This limitation was set in an effort to reduce wasteful and excessive printing.

Bowers said these allocations were set two years ago in collaboration with the Student Government Association.

“They encouraged us to set different amounts for undergraduates and part-time students,” he said. “The amounts were designed to meet known needs. We gathered a lot of known statistics and designed our plan to meet the great majority — more than 90 percent.”

Christine Clarke, a senior from Evansville, Ind., said that when she first came to WKU, students were given an unlimited amount of printing.

Now, as the end of the semester approaches, she has only $10 left on her account.

“I’m having to be really selective about what I choose to print,” she said. “Sometimes I just don’t print stuff for class and look off a neighbor, and it doesn’t make me look very professional.”

Clarke said her major, elementary education, requires her to print many articles, worksheets, homework assignments and lesson plans.

“It might be OK for some majors, but other people just need more money than that,” she said.

Especially now that she is in her major classes, Clarke needs to print more than ever. A recent project alone took almost 150 pages, she said.

“It’s not fair to students,” she said. “If you are someone who studies by looking at the PowerPoints and you don’t have enough money to print them, that’s the university’s fault. They’re limiting you.”

Jackson said he will continue to try and get more free print allocations despite facing refusal.

“I’ve been working with this whole situation since the third or fourth week of the semester, and it’s been ridiculous,” he said. “I just don’t think it’s fair.”

Students can continue printing after their allocations are used up, but it’s no longer free. They can pay with Big Red Dollars or purchase personal print value at places such as the kiosk in the Mass Media and Technology computer lab. Printing is 5 cents per page.