Photocopier room with files

School printer challenges and opportunities

Schools and colleges are looking to shave print spend and buy keenly.

Yet the education information technology (IT) environment is unique – staff turnover can be high and networks are dynamic. Plus, crucially, excess printing incurs huge costs on educational/academic institutions.

To learn more about how to save with a print audit, please click here

According to recent research carried out by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) in the UK, the education sector has the potential to save up to £245m per year by printing more effectively.

This is the equivalent of a new school uniform for 6m children or employing 9,800 new graduate teachers for a year at an average starting salary of £25,000 – that’s enough to fill all existing teacher vacancies in the UK nearly four times over.

I wonder whether we have similar saving opportunities in Ireland.

Where are the opportunities?

It comes down to waste. Consider the all-too-familiar site in schools of recycle bins full of wasted paper, unused prints and multiple copies of the same document. Even worse is finding entire books or websites printed for free and then left unclaimed in the printer tray.

Key office printer challenges for schools & colleges;

Wasteful, unnecessary and unclaimed output due to easy access to supposedly free printing

Rising print costs take limited resources from important programs and student services

Students’ personal information or upcoming exams could be exposed to unattended or remote printers

Walk-up patrons and campus guests need convenient, private access to copiers, without employees having to play cashier

Colour printer is easily misused; colour output is not easily tracked for cost reporting or charging

High level of service is expected by the university or school community

Lack of information on actual print use leads to over-purchase or inefficient placement of office printers


We can help you overcome these challenges and help you gain control of print output to ensure printing is done responsibly, securely and within policy.

Once control is sorted convenience can be thought about, providing print access to students and staff whenever and wherever they need it through features such as follow-me print.


Guidelines for printing in schools and universities

Please set and enforce student print quotas, track every page on every printer and easily charge students who exceed their term / semester allowance

Eliminate wasteful unclaimed printing. Printed documents are only printed when a student/staff identifies themselves at the printer

Protect privacy and confidentiality with follow-me printing with secure document release feature

Easily allocate print costs to students, departments or grants. Free up money for important academic programmes

Provide convenient campus card, cash or account-based payment. This can include automated PIN management and centralised account administration, removing the need to pay a cashier or fill in paperwork

Increase service levels and reduce help desk calls with simplified, centralised administration

Learn exactly how printers and copiers are being used, allowing more informed decisions on printer deployment and future printer purchases

Charge different rates for colour printing and easily restrict use of colour to authorised students/staff or purposes

Demonstrate sound environmental practice – have a green frame of mind when printing

Conveniently submit jobs to one single print queue

Reduce traffic on the computer network by avoiding multiple downloads of many print drivers


Knowledgeable Information Technology (I.T.) managers will be looking for a number of features in their print offering including low cost per page, speed, durability and quality.

Due to the heavy print load, classrooms need printers that are durable but also are fast and economical. Schools need professional hand-outs, course notes, coursework and much more to be printed easily and confidently within minutes.

Technology that incorporates reliability, lifelong support and good functionality will help ensure that printers are a long-term buy.

Opting for printers that use a separate drum and toner can also save on the cost of consumables.

The total (or true) cost of ownership (TCO) across the life of a printer or print contract is important.

Most schools or universities that have not reviewed their print fleet for a couple of years or longer, could save a considerable sum of money.

In fact, following an in-depth print audit, schools should be able to save between 18% and 40% on current print and document infrastructure.

It is often surprising what this total cost of ownership (TCO) audit can reveal and how large the savings can be.

The audit also allows the school to become familiar with other document management options such as using managed print services and automated document scanning and even test paper marking using the latest print software.