Student printing questions addressed

Students across campus are asking excellent questions regarding UW-Platteville’s upcoming changes to the student printing policy as well as the installation of print release stations currently in use in the general access labs.  The Student Technology Advisory Committee (STAC) in partnership with ITS has created a helpful FAQ.



What happens to my $25?

The $25 allotted to you each fall and spring for printing (and $10 each winterim/summer) was not actual dollars. The money was not taken from your tuition. Think of it as a print-for-free card given to you by the university.  You could print up to $25 worth of copies from campus printers without being charged.  Once you hit $25, additional printing was charged to your university account for you to pay out of pocket.  Costs for the “free” printing were actually covered by STAC (toner), Information Technology Services (paper, maintenance), Housing (res hall printers), and departments with public printers.  Monies collected from students who printed beyond their allotment went to IT.

Student Printing Policy & Procedures (rev. 2005) – old version
Student Printing Policy & Procudures (rev. 2015) - new version

Why are students being targeted?

Students are not the only group being asked to make changes.  Reducing costs related to printing is a campus-wide initiative which began in Fall 2014. The goal of the initiative is to become more efficient, fiscally responsible, and environmentally friendly.  Each department on campus is being asked to review its printing devices and behaviors.  This includes but is not limited to

-Using more efficient devices (multi-functional where possible)
-Moving devices to central locations (fewer personal devices)
-Sharing devices between areas when appropriate
-Installing print release stations to manage print behaviors
-Using Pioneer Printing & Postal Services when appropriate

All Administrative Services departments (ITS, HR, Campus Police, etc.) completed the print review process in Spring 2015.  As a result they were able to reduce the number of total devices from 89 to 49 with an anticipated savings of approximately $12,000 annually. A similar process is currently underway in academic departments.

In addition, ITS, STAC, and the Office of Sustainability continue to encourage alternatives to printing with events like Technology Mashup (Paperless Pioneers: “Green” Workflows at UW-Platteville) and an open forum with faculty regarding the use of electronic devices in the classroom and the electronic submission of assignments.

Each year students consume approximately 2,333,314 sheets of paper and 244 cartridges of toner.  To keep up with demands, the campus installs and/or replaces 10 printers per year. After reviewing the old printing policy, STAC recommended reducing the student allotment and using money collected for printing in the labs to subsidize the costs of maintaining those printers (paper, toner, maintenance). Reducing costs and waste are in line with the University's mission.

Do other UW System schools charge students for printing?

Some do, some do not. Based on information available for academic year 2014-15:
-4 of 12 other UW comprehensive schools provide nothing; student pays for all printing
-1 of 12 currently allots $25 or more (UW-Superior)
-2 of 12 charge nothing; student prints for free
-1 of 12 charges nothing; students bring their own paper
-Average allotment per term 2014-15: $8.32
-Average allotment per term 2015-16: $6.12

UW-Platteville has had and continues to have the lowest cost per page in the UW System and is now one of only three schools that gives a discount for printing back-to-back (duplex).

Student Printing at UW-Schools (full details)

Effective October 16, 2015, the new allocation is $3.  How much printing does $3 buy?

At the 2015-16 prices, the new allotment will cover 75 single-side black and white copies or 100 duplex (2-sided) copies.  By contrast, the same allotment last year would have covered only 60 black and white sides; there was no discount for printing back-to-back (duplex).

How many students will this change impact and by how much? 

Based on an average of 6,900 students on campus each term during 2014-15:

-24% printed $3 or less at the previous rate per page including 5% who did not print at all
-34% printed between $3-10 at the previous rate per page
-30% printed between $10-25 at the previous rate per page
-12% printed over $25 per term at the previous rate per page

Estimated out-of-pocked costs under the new policy are shown below:

LET’S COMPARE: Student A represents the 53% of students who print $10 or less per term based on the previous rate per page (58% minus 5% who don’t print).  For this example, we will assume Student A printed 20 copies that were either forgotten on the printer or were copied by mistake.  Below is a comparison of how much Student A would pay out-of-pocket under the current policy and cost per page (2014-15) versus the new policy, lower cost per page, and duplex discount (2015-16).

*With print release, cancelled jobs mean savings in paper, toner, and charges for copies you don’t want or can’t use.

Carrying the example forward, if each student who prints in Fall 2015 (est. 6,555 students) cancels 20 unwanted black and white single-side print jobs using print release, this would equate to 131,100 pieces of paper or 500 reams (26.2 cases), saving approximately $932 per term on paper alone, not to mention toner and printer maintenance.  PLUS the savings of $5,244 for students (at $0.80 per student at the new rate) who would otherwise have been charged for those copies. It all adds up.

What will be done with the money collected from student printing?

The overall goal is for the service to become cost recovery; meaning, the money collected will cover the costs for paper, toner, and maintenance. Funds previously spent on printer supplies and maintenance could be spend on campus initiatives like improved wireless.

What about students who print as part of their on-campus jobs?

Students should be authorized to use department printers as part of their job. Student employees will not be charged for job-related printing from department printers.  All jobs printed to lab printers are charged.

What’s up with the print release stations?

A print release station is a computer equipped with software that allows you to decide when and what to print – and to pay only for print jobs you truly need.

-Saves time - no more waiting in line to riffle through mountains of papers
-More secure - no more worrying that someone else will see or inadvertently take your work; the job won’t come out until you are ready to retrieve it
-Saves money & paper - no more printing unwanted jobs that end up in the recycling
-Easier access to information - see your print balance each time you print without having to log into your printing account
-Convenient – print a job from the comfort of your room to the Bears Den or Library.  Stop by the lab, swipe to release, and pick up your print job within 24 hours.

To illustrate the positive impact print release can have, in just one 24-hour period in the first week of class, the print system logged 305 cancelled print jobs of varying sizes, all of which would have been printed, recycled, and charged to the respective students' accounts without print release.

Eventually, the print release initiative will extend to department computer labs as well.

What is STAC?

The Student Technology Advisory Committee (STAC) is charged with prioritizing and recommending projects for disbursement of the Student Technology Fee. The Student Technology Fee (STF) is a tuition surcharge that provides students with adequate technology experiences through several objectives.

STAC website: Members, meeting schedule, budget documents, and contact info
UW-System Policy F49 Student Technology Fee (STF) Expenditures

What does STAC do with students’ money?

-50% to ITS for technical staff and support of general access labs
-5% to Karrmann Library for electronic resources
-45% disbursed to the campus community through a proposal process

You may view STAC’s budget documents on the committee's website.

How can I contact STAC?

To reach all STAC members, email  You may also send questions or comments to staff advisor, Colleen Garrity at

How can I become a member of STAC?

Students interested in joining STAC should contact staff advisor, Colleen Garrity at

Will we have $3 next year, or will it go down again?

The student printing policy and costs per page will be reevaluated each year and adjusted as needed.

How do I add more money to my printing balance?

Funds can be added to your Pioneer Passport at the Pioneer Passport office in the Markee Pioneer Student Center using cash, check, or credit card. Students can charge Passport Funds to their university PASS account through the tenth week of the semester. Deposits can also be made online through e-Accounts.

My budget is already tight as it is, and having to pay for one more thing is stressing me out. Where can I go if I need financial advice?

Students needing assistance managing their money are encouraged to attend the “GradReady” Student Success Seminars sponsored by the Pioneer Academic & Transitional Help (PATH) Center.

A printable version of this FAQ can be found in the ITS Knowledge Base. If you have questions regarding print release stations or the new print policy, please contact the ITS Help Desk at 608.342.1400 or


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