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Student Printing at WCU

RamPrint (PaperCut, Cloud Printing, and Mobility Print)

WCU has been utilizing PaperCut software to control and track student printing on campus for almost 15 years with the following goals:

  • Sustainability: reduce paper waste by limiting student page;
  • Support: Remote monitoring and troubleshooting of campus network printers to minimize downtime;
  • Security: “Find-me-Print” solution uses magnetic card reader technology
  • Mobility: BYOD initiative allows students to print from personal devices alleviating the need for a printer in every computer lab and reducing the carbon footprint;

This cost effective and easy to use tool is installed and maintained on a print server by the IS&T Tech Fee staff.  There are 116 university owned network printers installed throughout campus for student use. These networked printers communicate with the PaperCut product for reporting and management purposes. Tech Fee staff can monitor the printer status remotely which is useful for troubleshooting, as it provides the status on printer activity, paper jams, toner level, and if the paper tray is empty. The print queues can be quickly monitored and cleared by the Tech Fee and Help Desk staff for continued operations.

PaperCut's system notifications feature helps to minimize disruption by notifying key staff of important events. For example, when there is a paper jam, it might take several hours before a user reports the problem as most users just use another printer.

The following notification types are available and can be emailed to specific, responsible departments:

-Printer errors—Notify when a printer enters an error state for a selected period of time.
-Low Toner warnings—Notify when a printer runs low on toner (for supported printers).
-Application errors—Notify if an application error is detected. This option allows administrators to proactively act on errors raised in the Application Log page.
-License errors—Notify on important license events such as exceeding the licensed user limit.
-Pending refund request—Notify when there is a pending refund request.

Printer Status screen  
Printer Status screen with graphs  
Graph of data  

Printer Balance display from desktop.

On the first day of the semester, over 68,000 sheets were printed, last year, it was over 69,000. Prior to changing the default to duplex, the number of sheets printed would be over 100,000 pages on the first day of classes!

A PaperCut client (rebranded RamPrint) is installed on all WCU owned student use computers so students can view their current balance each time they logon and print directly to the RamPrint ‘printer’.  There are 1,762 student use computers on campus running PaperCut and currently students are limited to 125 pages per week.  Each printer (that has the capability) is configured to print duplex by default to help save on paper and we only deploy black and white printers (we have three color printers). 

As student enrollment increased and the university expanded the number of campus computer labs, IS&T needed a solution to limit the number of printers and scanners.  We deployed MFPs (multi-function function printers) in common areas, allowing students to print/copy/scan from campus computers and release their print job by swiping their RamID card at any MFP/card reader.  At the same time, MFPs support our BYOD initiative by encouraging and promoting student use of personal devices to print.   By leveraging the PaperCut ‘Find-me-Print’ solution with 'Mobility Print' features, students can install the RamPrint client (Mobility Print) on their personal device and securely send their print jobs to network printers.  Using their RamID card, they swipe to release their print job at any of the MFP locations.  Currently there are 20 MFPs located throughout campus for students to print/copy/scan their documents (and 2 print-only release stations).

PaperCut reports can tell us which printers are the most heavily used, how much paper was used during a specific time period (single sided vs duplex). It can also compare printing from university computers vs. personal devices and which printers are most used.

Future goals are to work with the WCU Office of Sustainability Department and Student Government Association (SGA) to discuss possibility of reducing the weekly page count from 125 to 75 pages a week.  We are also looking to install proximity card readers at the MFPs as the university is replacing the current magnetic strip RamID cards with this new technology. 

Mobility print jobs from personal devices:

Icons of phone layout for Ramprint

To learn more about WCU’s RamPrint solution, visit the RamPrint page. 

Executive Summary of printer report