MC to Limit Student Printing

Most students thought that printing on campus was unlimited and that would never change, but students may be prevented from printing if a printing cap is put in place.

In the near future this could be a very real thing for the students who exceed the printing limits that the school hopes to put in place to stop students from rampant printing.

“When we looked at the results [of data gathering] we saw some really crazy numbers from few students,” said Jake Holmquist, director of information technology services.

Individuals the sustainability committee identified as top offenders, those who print more than 350 pages during the data-gathering period, caused the high numbers according to Holmquist. Of this group, there are only six individuals who printed more than 2,500 pages, with only one person printing more than 5,000 pages.

The system that was put in place this semester would limit students to a set number of pages that they could print before the system stopped them. The sustainability committee has not yet decided on what a fair limit would be but the proposed limit would be between 200 and 1,000 pages per student per year.

The plan to curb printing was a product of conversations between the sustainability committee and information technology services for MC.

The sustainability committee’s mission statement states that “Manhattan College is constantly working toward making campus more sustainable and decreasing the carbon footprint of its students, faculty and administration. The College has established a Sustainability Committee that is spearheading these efforts. The committee is composed of students, faculty and administrators.”

Keeping in line with the committee’s mission, this initiative would cut down on the amount of paper and toner used on campus.

The cap would only target the top 3 percent of those using the printing services. The top 11.6 percent of those using printers print as much as the other 88.4 percent of those who print, according to documents from the sustainability committee. These numbers do not encompass those who do not use the printers at all.

Similarly, the top 10 percent of those printing make up roughly 44.5 percent of the total pages printed on campus.

The system, which is called PaperCut, was put in place to ensure that “the many are not subsidizing the few.”

Other well-known places of higher education have limits in place but their limits are drastically different then those planned for MC.

Columbia University has a 100 page per week print limit with a 100-page reserve. This means that if a student prints more then 100 pages in a week, they automatically continue printing using their reserve.

Purdue University has a limit based on the price of printing. Every undergraduate student receives $20 in print allotments per semester, and each print job is assigned a different cost.

For example, at Purdue, one black and white printed page of 8.5 X 11 costs 4 cents while a color printed page of the same size costs 12 cents.

Assuming that a student prints nothing but black and white, this allotment would allow for 500 pages per semester.

The idea of a printing cap is presents a change for many students, and reviews are mixed.

“That would be annoying,” said Bridget Avila, a junior communications student. “Especially with the amount of tuition. I don’t buy my own [printer] because I figured I could use the school’s technology unlimitedly.”

“I think that is a fair limit,” said Carissa Cancemi, a New York City public school teacher when presented with the hypothetical limit of 1000 pages per person per year. “I think that is more than enough for papers and journal articles.”

Students from other colleges that have unlimited printing seem to enjoy the idea of unlimited printing.

“I don’t agree with them [printing limits],” said Meghan Quagliariello, a junior nursing student at Molloy College. “I think its ridiculous for us to have limits because a lot of classes need many power points and or paperwork that is needed.”

One thing that Quagliariello advocates for is a print limit for each individual school within the college. This idea can be supported by data when broken up by average pages printed per student by school.

The School of Education on average had each student 215 pages, while the School of Science averaged roughly 135 pages, tying it with the School of Engineering.

Above, an infographic detailing the printing breakdown for each school.
Above, an infographic detailing the printing breakdown for each school. Courtesy of ITS.

The only question that is left to unanswered is the consequence of exceeding the set printing cap.

The school would treat this situation as a teaching moment for the student, much like the repercussions for first time offenders who are found to be downloading pirated media.

This idea of a cap for printing may have a drastic change on the landscape of the classroom with more and more professors allowing technology rather than print outs.


View the Sustainability Committee’s findings on printing at MC here.