With more than 6700 students and staff printing at SUNY Geneseo, the paper use – and paper waste – was enormous. The IT staff wanted an easy to manage solution that provided cost control and monitoring across the different printing facilities at the campus, so they turned to PaperCut.
How PaperCut Helped
Students are granted a quota of $30 per semester for the fall and spring semesters and $15 for the summer term. Amounts are carried forward each semester, but reset to zero at the end of the summer term. Where students exceed their quota, they must pay for additional printing.
The staff and faculty are not charged for printing; however, silent monitoring convinced the CIO / Director that some form of regulation was needed. Faculty members are now granted a quota, and must request additional quota if they run out of their allocation before the end of semester.
Differential charging encourages users to select high volume, low cost print resources. The price per page was initially set at 10 cents per page for grayscale printing and 25 cents per page for color printing. Reviewing printing costs versus money spent for toner and maintenance of color printers supported increasing the price for color printing to 30 cents per page. Recently charges were added for large paper sizes and discounts were added for duplex printing. The IT staff worked with a student environmental group on campus to communicate the benefits of duplex printing and inform the users of the new discount through articles in the campus newspaper.
Two IT engineers and the Oracle DBA spent approximately three months fully testing and implementing PaperCut, integrating it with SUNY Geneseo’s existing Oracle applications. (PaperCut is configured to use the Oracle external database.) The team followed the PaperCut Implementation Guide to assure that all critical functions were tested prior to full deployment.
When the system was first deployed students purchased credit though their campus student accounts. This was inconvenient because it took a day for the accounting staff to post the credits to the student PaperCut accounts. Students who needed to print immediately had to use the library printers where an attendant would take payment for print jobs. In 2008 a Payment Gateway was added, allowing students to add credit immediately using the PaperCut User Web Interface. This feature was further upgraded in 2011 with the integration of Nelnet Business Solutions Commerce ManagerTM payment gateway. SUNY Geneseo has streamlined business operations and reduced costs thanks to the secure, compliant gateway and students have greater flexibility with electronic payment options.
Several IT staff members have access to the PaperCut administrative functions. Most of the administrators have limited responsibilities for the equipment in their area and only need access to a few of the administrative functions. Selectable administrative rights limit access to the precise administrative scope and functions that are required.
Issuing refunds for failed print jobs has been a considerable drain on staff resources because students had to ask the help desk or library staff directly in order to get a refund. In September 2009 online refund requests were implemented. This made it possible for students to request refunds directly, using the PaperCut User Web Tools. The IT staff can now review and disposition pending refunds as part of the daily operational procedures. Walk up refund requests have dropped significantly since implementing the system.
Reports are used by the Computing & Information Technology department to perform quarterly resource assessments. New equipment is cost justified prior to purchase and existing resources are relocated to high use areas based on the information obtained from the Busiest Printers and Printer Usage – Summary reports. Reports are also used to monitor high volume staff and faculty printing in order to confirm requests for additional quota. In addition to standard PaperCut reports the IT staff is able to generate customized reports (created in VBScript) required to allocate the cost for a pool of multi-function printers that were purchased with State funds. The customized reports are emailed to the appropriate people.
What’s Next for PaperCut at SUNY Geneseo?
The PaperCut implementation at SUNY Geneseo continues to evolve. Future plans include:
- Adding a Manager Mode Hold/Release Queue allowing library staff to hold jobs in a release queue until users have paid
- Enabling Web Print to allow users to upload documents for printing from their personal computers that are not authenticated to the network
- Introducing Shared Accounts for departmental cost allocation.