Printing costs at SFU shouldn’t be a thing

Photo by Alfred Zhang / The Peak

Written by: Amal Javed Abdullah, Staff Writer

One thing that majorly irks me as an SFU student is the printing fees. Surrey campus charges $0.11 per side for a black-and-white printout, and $0.25 per side for a colour one. At Burnaby campus, it’s $0.11 for black-and-white and $0.30 for colour. Printing class material is a regular part of our academic routine, and we often need to do it at school.

It might be cheaper to print at home, but the costs of a good printer are often way beyond a student budget. Some people’s only option is to pay the school each time for the privilege of doing something that most of our courses require from us. This is especially bad if you’re a student who feels more comfortable working with paper than digital copies, or if you often mess things up and end up needing to print fresh copies of your assignments.

So many students need this utility, both regularly and in emergencies. It feels bad to be putting in credit card information just to print in these cases, or to put time into managing yet another account balance with the school’s printing accounts.

After paying thousands of dollars in tuition per semester, you’d expect some level of leniency on printing fees. SFU should provide free printing for its students and faculty. Before calling this impossible, it’s important to note that other post-secondary institutions do have better printing options. At Douglas College, for example, students get 300 free printouts per semester.

This issue isn’t humongous, and it certainly isn’t at the forefront of my daily struggles as a student. I can’t imagine spending much more than around $30 a semester for paper-heavy degrees, which would add up to about $100 a year and $400 through a bachelor’s degree (though, for the majority of students, the “four-year degree” is a fairytale sitting right next to Santa Claus and the tooth fairy).

But we pay enough for basic utilities in post-secondary: textbooks, food, and in some cases, rent. I don’t think it’s too much to ask that printing be eliminated from that list. It’s minor enough that people who use it would be grateful, and those who don’t may never even notice. Our time and energy should be all we need in our papers and assignments, rather than the cup of coffee we lose every time we print a page.