A paper puzzle: Are charges on the way?

The new printer system at Norwich shows a pop-up indicating a potential charge. Students are worried they may have to pay for printing, even when required by professors and for their homework study.

The new printer system at Norwich shows a pop-up indicating a potential charge. Students are worried they may have to pay for printing, even when required by professors and for their homework study.

With the rising cost of tuition, students at Norwich University are worried about a rumor circulating throughout campus that the administration will charge its students for paper usage starting Fall 2014. However, according to the Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, Dr. Frank Vanecek, “Our intent is to not have to charge students for paper.”

At the same time, he said he could not say what might happen in the future.

“At this point there had been no decision made on charging students for paper next year,” he said.

The idea of a potential charge for copying, however, has caused quite the uproar among students.

Even though no decision has been made, some students are appalled that the administration would consider charging students for paper.

“Even with no definitive decision it still feels like they are scamming us” said Tim Hunter, 20, a junior biology major from Exeter, N.H. “It’s something we use for academics, why should we be charged extra?”

Other students, such as Irene Okubo, 22 a senior physical education major from Chicago, Ill., said, given the rising tuition rates at Norwich, it is ridiculous to charge students extra to print assignments.

Due to a lack of communication between the administration and student body on the issue, many students really have no idea what is going on.

“I heard they are currently charging us for every single piece of paper we print out,” said PZ Matthews, 22, a senior political science major from Sommerdale, N.J.

Other students have heard that they will “only be charged at the computer labs on campus” said Courtney Hudson, 20, a sophomore management major from San Clemente, Calif.

However, Vanecek wants to make it very clear that students are not being charged this semester. Whether students may be charged in the future, and how that will be managed is not yet clear.

He explained that the concerns arose from the decision to replace all of the printers and copiers located all over campus.

“The genesis of all of this came about when we switched the printer and copier systems throughout Norwich,” he said,.“We took out all the old ones and replaced them with new ones that are all connected to a network.”

This network, he explains, runs on software called PaperCut, which keeps track and can control how many pages everyone is printing, including students. It also produces a prompt that indicates what the charge will be for each page.

Vanecek said that by using the network, the administration is trying to determine how much paper each student is using on average.

This semester, they have allocated $250 per student of “fake money” on the new network, he said.

According to Vanecek, every time you print, something is supposed to come up and tell the student how much they are printing and what it costs.

However, this semester, if a student prints enough to use up their entire balance, they don’t have to worry about faces a fee.

“Once you run out of the ‘fake money’ the dollar amount will just go into the negatives, as of this semester you will not be charge,” he said.

Vanecek explains that the reason why the administration is doing this is only to make students aware of how much paper they are printing.

He said that while the administration knows that “95 percent of the students do not print excessively,” there are those who print upwards of 5,000 pages per semester.

“We just want the students to be aware that it does cost money to print,” he said, “We hope it will make them realize that they should not be printing excess paper unnecessarily.”

While Hunter, Hudson, Matthews, and Okubo realize that the administration is just trying to make students aware, they all agree they don’t think students will care.

“Students won’t pay attention to the numbers,” Hunter said, “ if they have to print out papers, they have to print them out.”

According to Hudson, the students won’t pay attention to the number because they “don’t have control over how much they print because professors are the ones who give out the assignments.”

Matthews expressed the view that even seeing the dollar figures when printing is very unsettling.

“Seeing that number, even if its fake, makes students paranoid because most of us can barely afford to come to college anyway,” he said.

Since students already pay for printing indirectly through tuition, Matthews said that seeing the number is pointless since students should not be charged extra anyway.

Sheyra Concepcion, 19, a freshman political science major from Kissammee, Fla., said she doesn’t think it will make a difference to show students how much money they are spending on paper because of their study habits.

“Students all study in different ways, and if someone has to print out notes to study, they aren’t just going to change their study habits.” she said.

Patrick Venetz, on the other hand, thinks that showing the number may have a positive affect in making students aware of their printing usage.The problem, however, is that students do not know that the dollar amount is a fake number.

“I thought the number was real and that I was getting charged for printing and I think that most students think they are being charged,” said Venetz, a 20-year-old junior and criminal justice major from Old Forge, N.Y.

Venetz ssaid it would have been better for the school if the administration had sent out something detailing the situation.

In fact, on Jan. 10, an email was sent out to students giving information on the new printing system and consumption of paper from the previous semester.

This email had the subject, “Help reduce Norwich University’s consumption of paper,” and stated that each student would be allocated 250 pages of paper per semester.

Vanecek commented that the amount is still under deliberation, and also whether it be dollars or pages used.

Some students claim that they never received the email. Okubo said that she had knew about the email by word-of-mouth but had never actually received it.

Matthews, who said he also did not receive the email, worries about the whole idea of there being a “fake” number.

He said that might alleviate the worry of students of being charged for paper. However, he also added that it may cause more concern.

“It makes a student think of what else the administration might be thinking of charging us for without telling us,” he said “It will make students question what else the administration does that could be fake that they haven’t told us.”

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