Nursing student working on a mannequin in the lab//Jessica Rodriguez

Nursing student working on a mannequin in the lab//Jessica Rodriguez

By Lawrence M. Frank, Contributing Writer

Medical students are getting the short end of the stick with Bergen’s new printing policy. It is no mystery that the majority of medical students are paying a fortune on their education. But now they’re going to have to pay even more, just to be able to have their work printed.

The 2012 average education expenses for medical graduates who were in debt was $170,000, and 86 percent of medical graduates report having education debt, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. On top of the financial hardships they have to be cautious of, they now need to keep an eye on how many pages they print, as to not exceed the 150 page limit and be charged a fee for what was recently free.
The new printing policy, formally known as Pay-to-Print, is now in full force. It is already set up and is affecting a certain amount of students. Some students were even unaware of Bergen’s new policy stating they had no idea they had to pay to print after exceeding 150 pages. They feel as if the school didn’t do enough to inform them.

Rudy Garland, an aspiring veterinarian, has her own say in Bergen’s new printing policy. “I don’t think it’s fair honestly. I print out pages on pages for my classes and now I’m going to be paying for it on top of everything I already pay for.”

Michelle Citron is a medical student that passed the 150 page limit in three weeks. “I used to be able to print material that was beneficial for me because I rent my textbooks, but now I’m going to have to buy my own printer,” she said. “It’s gotten to the point where I have to go to my local library and print because it’s a lot cheaper there than it is here. I’ve never had a problem where I had to pay to print, and I’ve been to Ramapo and William Paterson.” When asked if she deems the 150 page limit to be fair, Michelle says, “I think it should definitely be more than 150 pages.” Citron was also asked what would be a better way to handle the new printing policy, she states “Either have a higher page limit or have students who are printing way more than the average student monitored to make sure it’s Bergen affiliated. We pay enough already with our tuition.”

“Some medical students can’t afford pay to print, they’ve used all their money into their tuition,” says Professor Claire Cyriax, an adjunct in the nursing department. “Rutgers gives you a $30 printing card built into your tuition.”

This is equivalent to 750 pages of black and white pape,r since each paper costs 4 cents. Also double sided sheets have the same rate as the single. While here in Bergen, after 150 pages, black and white paper cost a dime each and double sided sheets cost 15 cents.

Prof. Cyriax was then asked what could be done to save money for medical students. “I think they should pay for the certain articles online for your class. Why pay over $100 for a book if you’re only going to be flipping to certain article within that book? It’s a waste of space and money. If you buy them online, you can choose to print them out or not, and save tons.”

Larry Hlavenka Jr. the Managing Director of the Public Relations & Creative Services department, says “With the new printing process there was a significant amount of waste eliminated. This time last year, students are now printing 78 percent fewer pages in the free time printing labs and in the library’s it’s about 75 percent less pages printed.”

“If there are a group of students being disproportionately affected, we’ll investigate and see what warrants action. The key point is that this is the first semester with the new printing process, when we get all the data we can see if 150 pages is really enough. We can look at the percentages of papers printed by students and evaluate and change if needed.”Professor Brant Chapman who teaches chemistry, believes the new printing policy was an acceptable way to handle the issue, but there could have been a better solution. “There are two sides of the coin, on one hand, the cost of living has been rising every year, and Bergen’s been losing its income. But to get that money from the students is kind of an issue.” Chapman says “Its Idealism vs Reality. You want to make the best choice but you also have to be realistic, so someone is bound to get hurt. While I understand what they did, I just hoped there would’ve been a better way of handling this.”

The past three years, there has been an increase in the cost of living of almost 2 percent a year. Because of this, BCC has seen a steady decrease in revenue. 2017 is expected to see a 3 percent increase in the cost of living. A couple options were put out there to cover these costs, one of them being raising tuition. This also promotes a reasonable usage of paper and print. A large portion of the papers printed are waste and are thrown out. This will help Bergen control an escalating problem it had. According to the college, papers printed rose from 2.2 million in 2013 to 3 million in 2014; those numbers would have kept rising.

Granting all of that, there are still students being affected and at the moment, there are no plans to change the new printing policy.