At Ohio University, increasing revenue seems to be a euphemism for sticking it to students. Case in point: the new printing policy, which applies to several campus computer labs, including Alden Library. Students will no longer receive a free 50-page quota per quarter, but instead will be charged a flat 3-cent-per-page fee.
There are certainly arguments for the new policy. Students who print at the library will pay for their own use instead of being subsidized by students who dont. The library will also be able to provide more services, like double-sided printing for 5 cents or not requiring a vendacard for color printing. But the universitys primary reasoning behind the new policy saving money just doesnt hold water.
The policy will earn $46,000 per year more than the current policy, helping the library break even. This sounds great in theory. But there are better ways to get that money. Instead of placing that $46,000 on students, the university would do better to leave that money in the library budget and decrease waste in other departments. To begin with, OU should get rid of AlcoholEdu, which costs about $43,000 per year. That still leaves about $3,000 but that could easily be transferred, for example, from top-level administrators six-figure salaries. The end result is the same.
OU needs to put real student needs ahead of frivolous expenses printing at the library is a lifesaver for any student with a surprise paper or long readings on Blackboard. If the policy can really help the library serve students, then it isnt a bad one. But charging students to do their homework is no substitute for increasing university efficiency.