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The Not-So-Mysterious Disappearance of Printing Money

Some PLNU students are running out of printing money by mid-semester, and the numbers have doubled since last fall.

Sophomore nursing major Katelyn Brechtel panicked when her printing money amount flashed $0.00 on the library printers. With clinical paperwork, labs and study packets each week, Brechtel’s $10 of printing money was gone by the second week of October. She now adds at least $2 to her account each week to keep up with her work. Study and note packets can be up to 20 pages, and are sometimes in color, meaning that printing prices increase.

Unfortunately, she’s found that personal printers add significant expenses. Brechtel said, “Ink is expensive and it doesn’t get you very far.”

While students are allotted $10 for printing, professors don’t experience this expense. When Brechtel reached out to a professor regarding this, she did not receive a helpful response. Brechtel said, “They’re so unaware of it because it’s so accessible for them.”

She shared how one of her friends doesn’t have labs or science classes, and also has over $9 left in printing money. For Brechtel, printing prices aren’t the issue, it’s that PLNU keeps students’ unused money while gaining more from students who exceed $10.

One science major, who wishes to remain anonymous, ran out of printing money by early October and now buys ink for their personal printer, spending around $20 so far. They said, “I know a lot of science majors have their own printers just because it’s more convenient.”

The source said that last year, science majors didn’t have to print as much. However, this year, a new note-taking system was introduced in their organic chemistry class, where the professor uploads notes online for students to print, bring to class and add to. These note packets are usually nine pages and labs are typically five. This added up quickly each week. While the note packets aren’t required, they’re encouraged by professors as useful study and learning tools.

The Point reached out to the chair of the chemistry department, who said the department was unaware of this issue and does not believe it warrants an interview at this time.

“Of the students using print dollars, just under 12% exceeded the $10 balance by the end of the semester,” said Corey Fling, Chief Information Officer at Information Technology. “Of those, the average amount over the $10 was $7.74. The $10 amount is serving the majority of the student population, so there are no current plans to adjust the amount higher or lower.”

Statistics show 57 students exceeded $10 by mid-semester in fall, 2017. However in fall of 2018, 114 students exceeded the $10 amount by mid-semester. While this number is small in relation to the over 2,000 students utilizing printing services, it doubled since last year. Additionally, statistics show the average amount of additional money spent at the end of the school year is around $7, not including personal printer expenses.

Brechtel suggested revisions to the system like being able to donate your leftover money to someone else, or rolling over leftover money to second semester. Although the number of students exceeding $10 by mid-semester doubled, and additional expenses are over $7, no changes to the printing system are in motion.

If you’re experiencing this same issue, reach out to your professors and let them know.


  • Rebecca Elliott

    Rebecca is the editor-in-chief of The Point and a freelance writer. She is a senior at PLNU majoring in multimedia journalism and minoring in public relations.

About the author

Rebecca Elliott

Rebecca is the editor-in-chief of The Point and a freelance writer. She is a senior at PLNU majoring in multimedia journalism and minoring in public relations.

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