Printing is simply a cost too far for Lancaster’s students

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When discussing the issue of printing costs at university, the argument is that they simply are not fair. They are an unavoidable cost; we all have to print off work to pass our degrees and it is costing us a small fortune. I am a first year student and already I have totted up thirty pounds worth of printing costs. And I am a penny pincher when it comes to printing, forking out only for the essentials, so I can only guess at those whose course demands them to print off page after page just to get on.

The average cost of a single piece of coursework is 75p. It sounds trivial but I would strongly oppose having to pay 75p even to my department just to hand my mandatory coursework in, why should I pay for it elsewhere. It is not only coursework that is the issue, courses such as History, to name but one, demand that three or four twenty page texts or more are printed off each week, stretching out already tight student budget with an extra four pounds a week. Due to thrift and simply not being able to afford this, I refuse to print them and read it from my computer but some students would argue that this is not only awkward but an unnatural way in which to read.

This is such a huge issue that some student housing are offering free printing as an incentive to students. They are obviously aware that this would dramatically decease the amount of outgoing funds for students but the fact they are offering it suggests that the cost of printing is not so large as to break greatly into their profit. If this is the case then the charges enforced by the university are disgustingly high, it is a way in which the university has a fail-safe way of generating money, as students will always need to print for their course whatever the cost.

The figures discussed here sound minuscule in relation to what most of us pay on a night out, for example, but its more a matter of principle. We pay an extortionate amount for our degree anyway, so cannot this money cover the cost of a few printouts?  Where is all this money going? Certainly not on printing costs that is for sure. After the university has taken its money for accommodation most of us are sickened by our bank balance so that thirty pounds for something that is unavoidable and should be covered by the university will be greatly missed.

If and when the government decide to raise tuition fees, a decision that is looking more and more likely as the Browne review progresses, then supposedly our printing costs will be covered. I am fearful that this will not be the case and not only will students have to fork out seven thousand or more on a degree but will also have to pay hundreds to facilitate the passing of said expensive degree.

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1 Comment

  1. if our printing was free though, would people not just print out things they don’t really need? If there was a method of restricting this free printing to just coursework then it would be a great idea. However, free printing for everyone would be a mistake, the costs to the university would be huge and it is not something we need if we are trying to promote sustainable use of resources

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