The announcement that ITS will begin charging for printing has caused a lot of well-deserved commotion at UR.

Obviously no students are in favor of having to pay more money in order to be prepared for class, nor should they be. This proposition has seemed rushed from its onset and has lacked the input of those most affected by the printing charges, students and faculty.

While it is possible that some students may abuse the privilege of free printing, that does not mean that all students should be forced to literally pay for the potential abuse.

A much larger issue, and one that has not been addressed, is the effect of this policy on the students. The cost of tuition has already risen this year, as it does every year, putting many students into dire financial straits.

My question to the university is this ? What happens to the students who cannot afford the printing charges? Course reserves and online notes can tend to be quite lengthy and many professors require their students to bring them to class.

Now let’s do a little math, and assume that the average student prints up 40 pages a week for a single class.

With the new printing charges, students would be charged $3.20 a week per class, and when taking four classes, this would bring weekly totals to $12.80. While that might seem like a reasonable charge, the total for the semester would be $179.20; and the annual cost would be $358.40.

This is an entirely unacceptable cost when added to the price of textbooks and other class essentials such as notebooks and folders. We as a college community must not support decisions that force students to choose between academic necessities and other needs. A student should never be in a position where they cannot participate in class because they can’t afford the printout.

The clear, best choice is for charging for printing to be abandoned entirely, but that is unlikely to occur. If, as they are likely to be, the printing charges are implemented, it should be a charge to the student’s term bill.

This is preferable because term bills offer the option of paying on a monthly basis, so it could help stave off the potentially sizeable printing costs. The charges should have at least 500 free pages and the charges after that allotment is exceeded should be linear.

There is no doubt that the university should cancel their plans for charging for printing, or, at the very least, take the opinions of the students and teachers into account in order to most effectively implement any printing charges.

Kaplan-Shain can be reached at ikaplanshain@campustimes.org.



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