Iowa State University

ITInformation Technology

PaperCut, New Printing Options for Students

This news item expired September 21, 2009. It may contain out-of-date information.
As students return to campus this Fall, they‘ll find a new and improved system for printing documents in labs and departments around campus. PaperCut, a commercial software package has replaced the aging, home-grown NetPrint system that has been around for many years.

Computer fees fund a five-dollar per semester printing allowance for all students and some colleges and departments provide additional funding. The new system will let students use network printers in more places, provide a consistent printing experience, and make departmental printing allowances available for use with any PaperCut printer. In order to make that happen, pages printed using PaperCut are counted in "units". One unit is equal to one cent, and different printers have different unit costs. PaperCut keeps track of all the details and will calculate the proper cost for the printer being used.

Moving to the PaperCut system was the result of a wide-ranging collaborative project that involved representatives from the colleges, Information Technology Services, the Library, and Printing Services. The project merged several printing sites into one system and has already demonstrated its cost-saving potential by eliminating the need to buy additional print servers.

Although PaperCut is now only being used for student network printing, it may find future use in administrative printing as well. The system can track the number of pages printed and may be used for cost analysis and reducing environmental impact.

More information about PaperCut is available on the IT Services website at