Is $17.50 Enough?

A.J. Dome, Alex Sonnich, Washburn Review

Students will now have a dollar amount to keep track of when they print items from Mabee Library. 

A new campus-wide printing software will be managing all of the printing coming from the library, starting this semester. The Papercut system was integrated into the Washburn University Active Directory (WUAD) for Spring 2013, after Mabee officials gathered printing statistics to determine if students were abusing the free printing services.

According to Sean Bird, assistant dean of libraries, in October 2012 the library had printed 69 percent of all printings on campus. That includes private printers and the UMAPS facilities. 


“We want to keep providing the free service, and most students don’t print very much,” said Bird. “But we have to limit it because of the amount of abuse that has happened in the past that we’ve found.”

The new Papercut system will charge students five cents per single-sided page, and eight cents per duplex pages (pages with both sides printed, at four cents per side). Students are allotted $17.50 in printing credit, which resets at the beginning of every semester. Any leftover balance will not be paid back, and students will be billed for overages if they go over the $17.50 amount. 

According to a newsletter sent to alumni and faculty, the university coordinated with WSGA and various departments on the move toward paid printing, and received approval from the Washburn Technology Steering Committee.

The move comes as colleges throughout the country are looking to cut costs, and on-campus printing is increasingly becoming a paid service. Washburn’s move to charge for printing and to give students a credit up to 350 pages falls in line with others, which typically charge five to ten cents per page.

The Papercut login page can be found at, and is only available on computers connected to the WUAD network.

“You can access your Papercut account from any computer in Mabee, Bennet 108, and Henderson 108,” said Bird.

Once there, the Papercut account has some new and helpful features, including a line graph tracking students’ printing habits, and environmental impact statistics at the bottom.

“350-435 pages is the full amount that students can print with their credit amount, but very few will ever reach that,” said Bird. 

Students now have the task of navigating the new credit limits while printing class materials. And while 350 pages should cover most class syllabi and guidelines, some students are already seeing that money slip away.

“I’ve already spent four dollars of that for one document in one class. Based a person’s class, you don’t know how much a teacher expects them to print,” said Derek Fritz, senior biology major. “I think they should increase the amount, but I understand the idea.”

With increased Internet use on college campuses, professors are asking students to turn to the web for their information. By printing articles and information found online, some students are increasing their use of University printing services. By asking students to pay to print, those students may hit the credit limit more quickly.

“Instead of textbooks, they’re asking me to print off article after article, and that’s coming out of me,” said Jared Dechant, sophomore psychology major. 

The money created by students going over their credit limit will be used to benefit library labs and services. The Papercut system was approved by the Washburn Technology Steering Committee, which is in charge of setting the direction of information services for the university.