Drew University is now charging students for printing… again. Professors often ask students to submit physical copies of their assignments instead of submitting them online. So students will have to pay so they can hand in their assignments. Although it may be new to some Drew students, particularly the sophomores, the concept of paying for printing is not new.
Before the pandemic, paying for printing was the norm for Drew students. It was because of COVID-19 that the printing was made free; the policy was changed in order to create ease and comfort for students during the harrowing time of the pandemic. The Fall 2021 semester marked us going back to fully in-person learning, which was when we had the luxury of free printing. Professors were even encouraged to accept assignments through email or Moodle instead of asking students to print physical copies. This continued into the Spring 2022 semester. Most of us can remember going into the library last year and printing out our essays and lab reports without spending money. Drew is now back to its old ways, and is moving backwards instead of forwards.
Drew students received an email from Provost Jessica Lakin on Sept. 21, 2022 regarding the new ePRINTit system. We start off with a five dollar balance at no cost to us, which allows us 100 black and white pages or 25 color pages. In any situation where you must print for more than the five dollars allow, money from your own pockets must be used. Each black and white page printed beyond the prepaid ones will be five cents and each colored page will be 20 cents. According to Lakin, students can replenish their accounts in 5 dollar increments when we run out for “simplicity.” While it may sound convenient, it is an easy way for Drew to take five dollars from students who may only need to print a dollar’s worth of pages. We are not even allowed to use our Drew ID card at the moment and are required to use credit cards until the beginning of the spring semester. Many students may not even carry their credit cards with them around campus and, in a rush, might forget to grab it before printing something before class.
Even though this policy was supposed to start on Sept. 26, we are currently still allowed to print for free. However, the topic itself is creating a lot of stress for students. There is a ton of chatter surrounding the disappointment of having to pay for something that is so vital to many of our classes.
Even though paying for printing could generate a bit of money for Drew, it is inconvenient for students. It is inconsiderate of Drew to have students worry about paying for another thing on top of the already steep tuition and other fees. We already have to pay for textbooks, parking and there is a mysterious “technology fee” in NelNet we simply have to accept. Although the initial five dollars is appreciated, I’m sure Drew can afford to give us free printing, especially if they’ve done it in the past and if teachers encourage more online submissions.