Printing Allocation FAQ

To reduce waste and encourage less paper usage, Bowdoin has adopted an "allocation, then charge" model for printing and copying. Each semester, students receive a $60 credit - equivalent to 750 black-and-white, double-sided sheets. Once your semester's allocation is exhausted, print costs are debited from your OneCard account. Print costs, outlined below, remain constant whether the print costs are charged to your allocation or are charged to your OneCard account.

This allocation can be used at all public black-and-white printers on campus. Additionally, copy machines and microform prints* now draw against your allocation funds, if available, before deducting from your OneCard account. Color printing and copying, due to the expensive printers and toners required, is not included in your allocation funds, and charges directly your OneCard account.

The total cost of your print job will be displayed on the computer at the time of printing, so you will have an opportunity to cancel the job. At the print release station, you can see your current allocation balance, and can cancel your print job. You are not charged until your document is sent to the printer.

Black-and-white printing $.05 per single-sided page
$.08 per double-sided page
Charges to allocation funds if available, then OneCard
Black-and-white copying $.05 per single-sided copy
$.10 per double-sided copy
Charges to allocation funds if available, then OneCard
Microform printing
on new ScanPro 2000
same price as
black-and-white printing
Charges to allocation funds if available, then OneCard
Microform printing
on other microform printers
$.10 per print Charges to OneCard account only
Color Printing $.30 per single-sided page
$.45 per double-sided page
Charges to OneCard account only
Color Copying $.30 per single-sided page
$.60 per double-sided page
Charges to OneCard account only
Prices listed reflect student pricing. Faculty, Staff, and Guest pricing will vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

So how exactly does this work?

Before the start of every semester, a $60 credit is added to your printing account, which is linked to your OneCard. Print release stations are set to debit from this $60 allocation, and then from your OneCard account after your allocation is exhausted. Please note that color printing is not included in allocation funds; jobs on color printers will only debit from your OneCard account.

Why $60? How was the allocation amount determined?

In establishing this new public printing model, the Bowdoin Printing Group, which worked with students and faculty, reviewed over a semester's worth of printing data accumulated by the College's Pharos print management system. They also surveyed more than 40 colleges and universities, including several of Bowdoin's peer institutions.

The allocation of $60 is equivalent to 750 double-sided printed pages. According to the data compiled through Pharos, this allocation meets the needs of more than 82% of students with no change in printing habits. The Printing Group's review showed that establishing an allocation has reduced printing by more than 20% at other institutions.

Can I request additional printing allocation funds?

Students who find that their coursework requires a large number of prints may request additional free prints by emailing Please be mindful that the printing allocation system was implemented to reduce waste and promote sustainability.

When requesting additional pages, please include the following information:

1. Your current printing balance;
2. A list of which classes you are taking;
3. An estimate, per class, of how many double-sided pages you need to print for the remainder of the semester.

OneCard staff will follow up on your request to ask for more information if needed, or provide a decision on additional prints.

The allocation is intended for academic purposes only. Additional print allocation credits are typically capped at 250 double-sided pages. Requests will not be approved during the first six weeks of a semester, nor will requests for additional prints be considered until a student reaches $5.00 in remaining allocation balance.

How can I keep track of my printing funds? Will I be notified that my allocation is almost exhausted?

Your balance is displayed at print release stations whenever you swipe your card to print a job. You can check your balance there by swiping, whether or not you have a print job pending approval. Your allocation funds balance will also display when checking your OneCard balance through the OneCard website. As your balance approaches zero, try to monitor it and ensure that you have sufficient funds available in your OneCard account to cover any necessary printing.

I'm not doing very much printing this fall, but I'll be doing a lot of printing for my honors project in the spring. Can my allocation carry over?

Any unused amount of your Fall allocation carries over into the Spring semester. However, any remaining balance at the end of the Spring is cleared; allocation funds do not carry across academic years.

I printed the wrong document! Can I get a refund?

There are no refunds of allocation funds in cases of user error. The allocation was determined by looking at a semester's worth of data, which inevitably included a certain amount of errors and erroneous prints. So even with a mistake here or there, you should be able to make it through the semester. That said, please make sure that you are printing what you actually want to print. Remember, you are not charged until you actually release the job at the print release station, so you can cancel the job any time before that and not be charged.

There was a printer error and my job didn't print properly. Refund?

It depends on the error.

Minor problems, such as lack of paper or toner, or a paper jam, which are easily resolved by nearby staff members, are not generally refundable because the print job will ultimately print out: released print jobs queue up for the printer, and as soon as the supplies are replaced, or the jam cleared, all queued print jobs will print.

However, to give students the chance to become more comfortable with the College's printers, as well as how the printing queues work, each student is entitled to one refund to their printing allocation amount. To minimize the chance you will need a refund (as well as help out other students queuing behind you), if you realize the printer you have just sent a job to needs more paper or toner, or a jam cleared, please contact a nearby staff member, or Information Technology, to have the issue resolved so that your document will print out.

For larger problems, such as a major mechanical failure in a printer, Pharos system errors, or print driver errors, refund requests will be evaluated and granted on a case-by-case basis as issues are brought to OneCard and Information Technology’s attention. For these "major" issues, refunds will be issued once the issue with a printer or print job has been verified, and will not be subject to the one-per-person limit.

If your OneCard account is charged an incorrect amount, please contact the OneCard Office so that we can investigate the situation and process a refund if necessary.

Please contact the OneCard office for all refund requests.

Please report printer problems to the IT helpdesk.