Background & Basics

What is the purpose of the system?

In a nutshell, our quota-based printing system is designed to help control the ever-increasing costs of traditional printing and copying, guarantee more equitable use of shared resources and, above all, encourage the use of paperless digital alternatives (emailing, scanning and electronic document sharing). For those times when you really do need to print, though, it can add a layer of both privacy and convenience. These points are discussed more in other parts of this FAQ, so please read on.

Oh, we also want to try to rip a hole in the very fabric of time and space. We’re pretty sure this will do it, but it’s going to take a little more tinkering. If, while using the printer, you happen to see yourself from across the room, find a wormhole in the paper try or black out repeatedly while using the copier, let us know. Might be nothing, but you never know…

Printing has always been free. Why are you suddenly taking that away and charging me?

Actually, no. Printing has never been free. In fact, it cost the Academic Computing budget that manages the labs over $13,000 in the 2013/2014 academic year. That’s just the “free” printing in the labs and doesn’t begin to touch printing in other departments (which, by the way, has had a per-print accounting system in place for a few years already). So while we’re putting a system in place that makes everyone aware of the real costs, odds are good you’re still not going to pay anything for your prints. Read on.

So if you’re charging students for printing, why do you say it’s still unlikely to cost me anything?

Because we’re giving every student a $25 credit each semester to cover their printing needs. We arrived at this number by evaluating a full semester of the system’s real usage in the labs and determining that only a few exceeded this amount (and most never came anywhere close). On this basis, we feel comfortable in saying that printing will effectively be free for the vast majority of students.

Do note that the $25 student credit is reset each semester and is not rolled over, so don’t try saving it all up for that copy of War and Peace you’ve been itching to print, stitch and bind for some kind of merit badge. More details on this in the Credit & Balance section of this FAQ.

Ok, so I get how it’s effectively “free” for students. Then why bother with this quota and login nonsense?

For a few reasons, actually. The big one is to prevent both accidental and purposeful abuse of the kind that costs us all a ton of money and makes our carbon footprint a great deal more Sasquatchian. How many of you have walked into the lab, printed a document and then had to separate it from the ream of abandoned copies someone else printed and never retrieved? Odds are good that wasted ream was the same thing over and over, either by mistake, a prank or pure carelessness. Whatever the case, associating printing with people and making everyone aware of the real costs should help curtail those problems.

Besides, we’re just mean that way.

Will this login and release thingy increase my privacy?

I’m so glad you asked! Indeed it does. Rather than your potentially private pages landing in the tray all mixed in with someone else’s Grumpy Cat-themed sudoku puzzles, logging in and releasing your job at the printer means it goes straight into your hands. It also renders you invisible anywhere in a fifteen foot radius of the printer. Now THAT’S privacy.

So how does this “print release” stuff actually work?

It’s a complicated mixture of dark magic, the business end of a rusty tuba and very, very carefully woven dryer lint. It took ages to design, but we’re quite pleased with the results.

The public printers in the labs have a large touchscreen display built into them. You simply enter your SBC email login and password (or numeric ID and PIN code – more on this below) to list the items waiting to be printed. Select yours from the list and, by approving it, you will release it to the printer and the cost will be deducted from your account. You will always see your available printing credit on the screen when you log in. If you decide for some reason to not print your pages (maybe you spotted a mistake just after you hit the print button), simply tap cancel and there will be no charge. If you leave items in the system for more than two hours, it will cancel itself with no charge. The system will even send you email reminders that a print job is waiting or is about to expire.

See? Magic. And some tuba parts. And lint. But mostly magic.

Copying & Scanning

Can I make copies with this system?
Absolutely! Simply log in at the printer as you would to release a print from a computer. A button appears on the screen that takes you to the normal copier functions. From there, use the machine as you would any copier. The cost will be deducted from your account exactly as it would for pages printed from a computer.
Do keep in mind that not everything you might need to “copy” needs to be copied onto paper! Perhaps you simply need a copy of existing printed material that you could just as well read on your computer or iPad later. If so, you can scan it and have the printer email it to you at no cost. This avoids wasting paper, toner and your printing credits. Nice, huh?
Can I scan and email documents?

Yes. As mentioned above, scanning documents for email delivery to yourself (or others) is always free. Simply log in on the printer the same as you would when releasing a document you’ve printed, select the option to use the copier and scanning functions and proceed as normal. Again, there is no fee for scanning and emailing. If you simply need a copy of something for later reference, consider whether it might actually be more convenient to read later on your computer. If so, you’ve just saved yet more paper, toner and money. Oh, and do be sure to verify the email address… especially if you’re doing rude things with the copier. It’s been known to happen.

What does copying and scanning cost?

Traditional copying costs the same per page as printing from a computer. Scanning and emailing, however, is free and highly encouraged as a means of saving resources.

Free. Call now. Operators are standing by. Do it today.

Accounts & Logging In

What do I need in order to log into the printers or the website?

Well, first you’re going to need a goat, two spotted newts, six pieces of gravel (any size) and the distributor cap from a 1970’s-era Ford F150. Bring the goat to the printer and put the other items… oh, never mind.

Here’s the shortcut:

All students, faculty and staff already have accounts in the system. Simply use your email login name (the portion before and excluding @sbc.edu) and email password. In rare cases, your email password might not match what our system expects. If you encounter this, please contact the Help Desk at x4357 for assistance. If the password doesn’t work, though, you are still going to need the goat. Plan accordingly.

Entering my login name and password on this printer’s touchscreen sucks. Is there a faster way?

Yeah, we’re all spoiled by modern tablets and phones and their awesome screens. Sadly, most printers and other devices still haven’t caught up yet. Fortunately, everyone with an account also has a numeric ID and you can set your own PIN. With these, you can login quite rapidly using the physical number buttons on the printer (much like dialing a phone, in fact). It’s… clickier. 🙂

I’d like to use the faster numeric ID to log in. Where do I find my ID?

It’s right on your Sweet Briar ID card. If you don’t have that handy, you can also log in to your account on the web and look it up. It can be revealed with a click in the Summary section by the header Card/ID number (just below your username). And, yes… do this. Your fingers will thank you.

How do I set a PIN for my numeric ID?

Simply log into your account on the web, go to the Change Details section on menu (left sidebar) and you will be able to set and verify your PIN. You can change it here anytime you like. Trust us when we say this is a very worthwhile thing to do. Check back here after you’ve tapped in your full login name and password on the touchscreen…oh, about a dozen times this semester. 

I’ve forgotten my PIN. How do I reset it?

Nope. Once you lose it’s gone FOREVER. Printing privileges revoked. You will also get a hideous case of both scurvy and rickets.

Ok, calm down. You can reset it the same way that you originally created it. Simply log into your account on the web, go to Change Details and enter a new PIN.

Can I use my login name and numeric ID interchangeably?

Yes, you can log in with either ID on the printers at any time. Use whichever you find easiest… or happen to remember. Memorizing your numeric ID and PIN can save you time and reduce the number of obscenities needed to get your print jobs… just sayin’.

My login name works, but my SBC ID number doesn’t seem to be working. What’s up with that?

First off, make sure you’ve set a PIN for your ID via the website. Log in with your username and password, go to Change Details on the menu and use the fields for setting and verifying a numeric PIN of your choosing.

If your numeric SBC ID starts with one or more leading zeros, please leave them off and start with the first non-zero number in the sequence. For instance, if you had 0012345, you would actually use 12345.

If in doubt, please log into your account with your username and password, go to the Summary menu and hit “Show” number to Card/ID Number. This will show the number our system is expecting. If your ID and this number don’t match or you encounter other issues, please don’t hesitate to contact the Help Desk at x4357 for assistance.

I’m off campus / using my mobile carrier connection. Why can’t I log into my SBC PaperCut account?

For security reasons, you must be connected to the SBC network to reach your PaperCut account. This means being physically on campus and using SBC WiFi or an ethernet connection. You can also reach your account from off-campus if you have VPN access.

I am a short term visitor to campus. Can I use the printers and copiers?

For the immediate future, we ask that you please use the printers and copiers in Cochran Library near the circulation desk. They can assist you with copying, release your queued print jobs from library computers and collect the appropriate fees to cover the cost.

Scanning to email (rather than traditional copying) is free for visitors. Again, please see the library front desk for assistance since the process does require a login name and password.

Oh, and why only a short visit? This place is beautiful! Stay a while!

I have [insert special relationship here] with SBC and need to do a lot of printing/copying on campus. What do I do?

Please visit the Computer Services Help Desk in the lower back level of the Sales Education Building to arrange the creation of an account. You can also call them at x4357 to set up a time or if you have additional questions.

My club/organization needs to do a lot of printing/copying. What are our options?

Please visit the Computer Services Help Desk for assistance. You will likely need to have an account created for the club and budget funds transferred to apply credit for printing. The Business Office can assist with the transfer of funds. May we also suggest that someone create a Paperless Digital tap club where people extoll the virtues of… ah, never mind.

Credit & Balances

How do I see my remaining balance?

The printers will show your balance directly on the screen each time you log in. You can also see your balance online by logging in here. It’s a little known secret that if you place your head under the lid of the copier and say “balance” three times loudly while snapping your fingers, it will dispense both your credit and a surprise gift (gifts range from free printing credit to a peanut butter and banana sandwich with a side of tater tots). Please Instagram this as you do it… you know, to help others…

I have used up most or all of my printing credit. How do I add more?

To add more credit to your account you can purchase a prepaid card at any of several locations on campus. Currently these are sold in $2 and $5 values. Don’t blow it all in one place, big spender.

Where can I purchase prepaid printing cards?

Cards are currently for sale at the Book Shop and the Cochran Library circulation desk during their normal operating hours. We also understand there’s a burgeoning black market for unredeemed cards. Check with the sketchy looking students in trench coats that hang out in the back alleys near Prothro. Some will give you a free first card, but once you get addicted to color printing it’ll be a total monkey on your back. But hey… YOLO… amiright?

How do I use a prepaid printing card?

Precise instructions are found on the card, but in a nutshell you will log into your account with any web browser and redeem the value by entering the card’s obnoxiously long unique number. Once redeemed, please recycle the card in any paper recycling bin on campus (or you’ll feel guilty for the remainder of your days… just sayin’). The card has no further use once redeemed (unless you’re into origami or like really stiff rolling papers).

What’s the story with my $25 per semester credit?

Students receive $25 in printing credit automatically each semester. In the case of student accounts, remaining balances DO NOT carry over, but are reset at the start of each semester with a fresh $25 credit. Note that this means that any additional purchased credit remaining will be lost with the reset. It is because of this that we strongly encourage purchasing minimal additional credit should you need any during the semester. This is also part of why cards are sold in as small as $2 values to minimize waste and loss. Do we do this to be mean and to pad our retirement funds? If only. Frankly, it’s because the values are often minuscule and there is no particularly convenient way to separate the $25 credit we give you from additional funds you’ve added. As stated earlier, most people will likely not even need to purchase additional credit during the semester and we hope that conservative application of $2 prepaid cards will limit any actual loss to you at semester end.

Now, stop bothering me. I have to get back to my picking out paint chips for my retirement mansion on the private island I bought last month.

Does my credit expire?

Yes and no. For students, any remaining balance from the end of each semester is erased and a new $25 credit is applied. This INCLUDES any additional credit you may have purchased (so we recommend buying additional credit in the smaller $2 increments should you actually need it).

Unlike students, all other users must purchase their credit and apply it to their account. Such accounts will not be reset each semester and will continue to carry their value as long as the account exists or until the applied funds are exhausted.

My prepaid card has an expiration date. What’s that all about?

Cards are created in batches, all of which have a somewhat arbitrary expiration date of our choosing. At the time of this writing, card batches are currently set to be good for two years from the time of printing. This is purely an administrative thing as we try to strike a balance between avoiding printing too many cards and having the information on unsold cards get out of date. The expiration date applies ONLY to the card itself and not to the redeemed funds. Redeemed funds will not expire with the card and will remain active on your account until you use them (or until the semester reset if you are a student). Should you be left holding an expired but unredeemed card (which, fortunately, is very unlikely to happen), please take it to the Book Shop or Cochran Library to have it swapped for a new one of equal value.

Students get printing credit each semester. What about faculty, staff and others?

Students are currently the only group that will receive prepaid printing credit.

How can faculty, staff and others go about printing, copying and scanning?

Faculty and staff generally have access to departmental printers that operate with an existing billing system (whether you realize it or not). We are planning to eventually implement PaperCut throughout campus allowing us to move away from a split printing accounting system. Until then, we ask that faculty and staff continue to use their departmental printers for departmental business.

If you are a faculty or staff member that needs to do personal printing or copying on the public printers, you can purchase credit for your account in the form of a prepaid card. Once redeemed, prints and copies will be deducted from your balance at the same rates and in the same manner as student users.

Campus residents, retirees and others with close or unique ties to campus may request an account and purchase credit for printing. Please visit the Computer Services Help Desk to establish an account.

Something I tried to print/copy [failed / caught fire / melted / blew up the printer / vanished into the ether] and I’d like a refund. How do I [politely request / demand / threaten to burn down the college if I don’t get] my refund?

You have a few options, actually. The simplest and probably most convenient one is to request a refund through your account on the website. Simply log in with your account from any browser and locate the Recent Print Jobs item on the left sidebar menu. Once there, find the print job in question on the list and you will see a “Request Refund” option under the Status heading. Click that and fill in any details including the full or partial amount you feel you are due. Explanations of what went wrong are very helpful, so please offer some insight into what failed. The request will go to the Help Desk and they will contact you with any followup questions and/or confirmation of your refund. You are also welcome to visit the Help Desk in person (ground floor back of the Sales Education Building), especially if you’d like to dramatically wave any misprinted evidence around to add weight to your request. 🙂

Service Locations & Misc Topics

Where are the printers and copiers located on campus?

Click here for a current list of printers on campus that work with your account.

Does my account apply to the Book Shop Copy Center / Duplicating?

No. Your account and credit apply only to the printers and copiers tied to this system. Normal payment methods or budget charges must be used at the copy center.

Can I print from my [room / mobile device / outside of the labs] and grab it while I’m out and about?

Yes! There are several ways to do this ranging from directly printing to our system to using the web and Google Cloud Print Services from your computer or mobile device. We’ll be posting those details soon, so please check back or look for an emailed announcement. Keep in mind that jobs are held for two hours, so you’ll need to release and pick it up within that timeframe. You won’t be charged for jobs that you let expire, of course.

Can I play Netflix on the printer’s touchscreen?

For the last time, NO. Jeez, people!