When students need to print something on campus, most pay for it using Bevo Bucks with the UT printing system. However, civil engineering junior Hannah Smith has $40 worth of free printing every semester, thanks to a printing quota from her department.
“I think it’s really cool that the civil department is able to give us free printing, because not all majors have free printing, and it can get expensive,” Smith said.
Within the Cockrell School of Engineering, the civil, architectural and chemical engineering departments offer their students a quota for free printing. They are the only two engineering departments, and two of the only departments or majors across campus, to offer this service. Printing quotas are determined by department heads, and vary from major to major.
Civil engineering students in the past have had up to a $100 budget, but Danny Quiroz, senior IT manager for civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, said due to budget cuts around 2008 they had to lower it to $40.
“Whether a department offers free printing, or subsidized, is up to the department,” Quiroz said. “Based on what we heard from students we decided to keep it in the budget.”
Quiroz said University-wide budget cuts from 2008 and 2009 could be one of the reasons why other departments and colleges within the Cockrell School decided to not offer printing for students. He said another factor could have been the ability for students to use Bevo Bucks to pay for printing with UT Print, which started around the same time.
“I don’t know exactly when UT Print came along, but I would say that having the option to use UT Print played a role in whether departments kept or got rid of their own quota-based printing,” Quiroz said.
Randy Rife, senior IT manager for the Department of Chemical Engineering, said students in his department receive a quota of $100 worth of printing. Rife said each year the department surveys students on what they think the school can change to help benefit their education. Ninety percent say printing is important to them, which is why his department provides quota printing.
“For me it’s all about doing the best we can and giving the most resources to our students to help them succeed,” Rife said.
Although the free printing is beneficial to some engineering students, others who do not have free printing options are not so happy about it.
Melody Zhang, a petroleum engineering junior, said she spends around $100 per semester on printing and wishes she did not have to pay for printing out of her own pockets.
“Considering (our department) just got a $25 million donation, I think they should give us free printing,” Zhang said. “If that cost could get deducted somehow that would make my life a lot easier.”
Design junior Carolina Masuero said she does not think it is fair for only a few majors to receive free printing.
“As a design student, I have to print a lot and print a lot in color,” Masuero said. “I know it has to do with budget, but I need printing just as much as other students, and money should not get in the way.”