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Student printing costs increased

     Student printing costs have been increased as of Wednesday the 17th of October. The cost of printing a single sided sheet will witness an increase from 5 cent to 7 while a double sided sheet goes from 4 to 6 cent a side. This is the first rise in the charges since the student print service was first introduced in 2009. However costs have continued to steadily climb since then leading the Finance Office, Students Union and Computer Centre to make this joint decision.

     The previous rates had been held since the services introduction in 2009. Since then there has been a 2% increase in VAT, 26% rise in paper costs and printer maintenance costs have shot up by 35%. All of these factors collectively resulted in €62000 of printing costs for UCC in the last academic year. This cost was deemed to be too great for the service which acts on a strictly “cost recovery basis” according to Michael O’Halloran, the Users Services Manager of the Computer Centre.

     This cost also had an adverse effect on the development of the system, which is due to undergo an upgrade next year. The planned new service will include one single integrated copy and print service using the student card. It is also planned that the same service will be available to all UCC students regardless of where they are located. Any income generated from printing charges will be reinvested to facilitate this upgrade which will require “some time and investment from the University”, according to Michael O’Halloran.

     UCC has provided the cheapest printing service amongst all Irish universities over the previous three years, though this increase will see UCC fall in line with the national average. To put these new costs into perspective, as of September 2012, UCC along with Trinity College Dublin offered the cheapest service at 5 cent for a single-sided sheet and 8 cent for a double-sided sheet. Trinity had introduced these rates at the start of the current academic year to match UCC as the cheapest service.  On the other end of the scale UL and NUIG were the most expensive. UL’s rates for a single-sided and double-sided sheet stood at 7 cent and 14 cent respectively, while NUIG’s rates for the corresponding services were 8 cent and 12 cent. Despite this increase, UCC’s printing service will remain in the top three in the country for value.

     While this increase may cost some students a considerable amount of money over the year, depending on the amount of printing work which their course requires them to partake, the good news is that as of yet there is no direction on future costs. While UCC did have the least expensive printing costs, “unfortunately and regrettably that position is no longer sustainable.”

Tommie Grant