Georgetown students in the College and the School of Foreign Service might feel an inkling of neglect upon watching their peers in the School of Nursing and Health Studies and the McDonough School of Business use up their semester’s printing and copy allowance. Students in the former group shudder at the sight of their philosophy professors’ course reserves and international relations lecture slides, often wondering why those in the latter are granted the luxury of free copies and prints. Easy as it may seem to demand and be awarded such a privilege, it is essential to understand the basic reasons for the current practice before making an educated request to the administration. Simply put, the issue at hand is not quite black and white.

Copies and prints are not entirely free for MSB and NHS students; rather, their allowance is derived from additional fees the students in these programs pay. MSB students, for example, incur lab fees each semester for their use of the MSB Technology Center, located in New South. This fee is $75 and includes 1,000 free pages of printing per semester for students in the MSB. NHS students pay a $100 technology fee and are permitted 500 prints per semester under a similar system, as well as use of technology services in St. Mary’s Hall. Under the system, copies and prints run at about 20 cents a page, plus a few technology assistance and facilities perks. As a part of their online GOCard management, students in the NHS can view the balance of their copy and printing funds.

The rest of the Georgetown University community is subject to a 10-cents-apiece charge for black and white copies and prints at various locations around campus. This seems fair, considering there are no extra fees imposed upon those in the College and the SFS. Additionally, those attending neighboring George Washington and American Universities pay comparable amounts. Prints and copies at these schools set their students back nine and 10 cents per page, respectively. Where is the need for complaint?

The system breaks down, however, when copy and print budget renewal comes into play. The issue at hand is no longer whether the College and SFS are being gypped, abandoned by whichever magical force it is that bestows these free copies and prints at the start of each semester. But their jealousy is justified when one points out that their peers in the MSB can purchase another 100 pages for the relatively small price of $5 – that makes five cents per copy, half the cost of a copy printed in the library.

Unless College and SFS students wish to have a technology fee amended to their tuition bill every semester in exchange for free prints, they must accept the printing allowances for MSB and NHS students. The prices for a page of printing, however, should be standardized across campus so that the school a student is in does not determine how much he or she pays for printing. The most plausible solution to the matter in question would be for these students to demand an explanation of the set price, and campaign for more reasonably priced copies and prints. Endless pages of readings from Lauinger’s course reserves cause enough anxiety as it is.

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