The Problem With PC Printing Money: Should the College Reimburse Students’ Remaining Balance?

by The Cowl Editor on November 29, 2018


Photo of someone printing.
While every student has to print at one point or another, many students are beginning to use online resources in place of printed ones. Photo courtesy of Nicholas Crenshaw ’20/The Cowl.

by Kelly Wheeler ’21

Opinion Staff

As the semester comes to a close, many Providence College students are frantically realizing that they did a poor job saving enough Friar Bucks to use during the last few weeks of classes. Finding themselves completely wiped out of Friar Bucks, countless students are eagerly awaiting the arrival of next semester’s Friar Bucks deposit so they can get buffalo chicken wraps from Yella’s and flatbreads from Sandella’s again.

Students may feel a bit panicked watching their Friar Bucks balance rapidly decline, but there are not too many students that feel this same panic about running out of printing money by the end of the semester.

PC loads $40 to every undergraduate student’s PC Prints account at the beginning of each semester.

All students pay the same technology fee at PC which accounts for printing costs, meaning that a student who exhausts all $40 of their printing money will still pay the same amount to the College as a student who did not print a single page all semester.

PC needs to start to reimbursing students for their unspent printing money at the end of each semester.

The 21st century classroom is becoming increasingly paperless, so many students do not come anywhere close to using all $40 of their printing balance.

This is especially true on our campus because Sakai is used as an online educational platform.

Many professors allow students to submit their assignments on Sakai, eliminating the need for students to print out hard copies of their work.

Additionally, students can view and annotate documents that they access on Sakai without ever needing to print them out.

Margaret Benson ’20 says, “In several of my classes, my professors let us use our computers to engage with the texts they put on Sakai. I can highlight words and add notes using tools on my laptop, so I don’t really print that often.”

Additionally, PC should reimburse students for their unused printing money in order to benefit the environment.

If students know they can get money back at the end of the semester according to their remaining balances, they will only print when absolutely necessary to maximize their reimbursement payments.

This will reduce the amount of paper used by the College, thus making our campus more environmentally friendly. 

Deforestation is a major problem in today’s world, so PC should do its part to cut back on its paper usage.

Trees are invaluable to our planet. They produce oxygen for us to breathe, provide shelter for countless species of animals, and remove carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas contributing to climate change, from our atmosphere.

The less paper we use as a campus, the fewer trees will be sacrificed to satisfy our demand.   

Students would be motivated to print less, thus reducing the amount of paper and ink that PC would need to purchase.

The cost of a college education is exceedingly high. From tuition to room and board to textbooks, the expenses quickly pile up.

PC should do what it can to curb these costs for students—even if it is by doing something as small as reimbursing them for unspent printing money.

Whether the money is returned in the form of a check or by deducting it from the technology fee that students are charged the following semester, every dollar saved can go a long way for college students.