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Higher Education

An Ohio college finds PaperCut makes the grade when it comes to ease and efficiency

Clark State college

Cutting to the chase

Problem

A non-user-friendly interface made printing frustrating for students and staff.


Solution

PaperCut makes print management easy and efficient with big savings on waste.


Outcome

The comprehensive reporting allows them to plan where to place printers.

Clark State College is a public community college in Springfield, Ohio. Established in 1962, the college has about 850 full and part time employees and more than 6000 students annually.

The school offers a wide range of degree, diploma, and general education courses in subjects such as agriculture and food science, business, computer and information technology, arts and humanities, engineering, theatre, health, and many, many more.

The college has a network of more than 90 printing devices, including copiers, spread across five locations in their four-county service in Ohio.

Nathan Walters is the Director of Technology Services for Clark State. He has worked in higher education for nearly 20 years, the last nine at Clark State. Soon after arriving at the college, he was tasked with finding a print management system to replace the one they had that didn’t fully meet the needs of the students, faculty, and staff.

 

“The extensibility of PaperCut really helps folks who want to do more with it than what it’s designed for. You can do a lot of extra work with PaperCut that it otherwise isn’t designed out of the box to do.”"

- Nathan Walters,

Director of Technology Services, Clark State College, Springfield, Ohio

Problem

When Nathan joined Clark State, people wanted more from the existing print management system they had in place than what it could provide. “It was difficult to use, from what I was told,” Nathan reveals. “It was rather clunky, with very old-style settings, Windows, and everything. It wasn’t a nice web GUI at all, showing a lack of focus on user needs.

As Nathan explains, Clark State had some specific needs that had to be addressed. “What we needed was a solution that could provide our students with a quota every semester, the ability to add funds to a personal account of some sort. Then, on the other side of things, be able to do accounting for staff and faculty members, which would then get reported to the business office so they could put those charges in the correct accounts. So those were the big things. On top of that, we needed something just easy to use.”

As it happens, Nathan had been experimenting with PaperCut at his previous job. “And so, I went ahead and piloted PaperCut here. We tried it out by monitoring things through PaperCut NG, and when that worked, we installed PaperCut MF, and now we’re completely integrated.”

Solution

Clark State uses PaperCut to manage printing for faculty, staff, and students. Each student receives a fixed quota per semester for printing for academic assignments and other personal printing needs, which they can top up at the bookshop if they need more. The system provides students with a release queue that includes printers in a variety of locations across all the college’s campuses. Once they send a job to the queue, they swipe their student ID card to print it out, courtesy of PaperCut’s Find-Me printing , and have the cost deducted from their semester quota.

The system for employees is similar, but Clark State also has a staffed copy center for larger jobs, so if they try to print a document over the maximum page number, they will be prompted to use the copy center instead in order to reduce the load on shared devices, allowing them to be as accessible to everyone as often as possible.

Nathan is happy with the versatility that PaperCut offers: “We have about five physical locations spread across three different counties. So, the flexibility is needed because there might be students or employees going from one location to another, and they can pick up their printing wherever they are.”

PaperCut also allows staff to prepare documents at home and then pick them up when they’re on campus. “For employees who have a managed laptop, the release queue is on there, and they can print to it from off-site. And then we also have a VDI infrastructure that employees can log into if they don’t have a laptop, and again that release queue is there.

Outcome

Nathan is also a fan of the extra security that PaperCut offers. “(Previously) people would print out documents which would get mixed up with other documents and picked up on accident or not picked up at all, wasting paper and resources. This also improves security for printing documents with sensitive information. So, now having the documents release when you’re at the printer really helps with that sort of thing.”

Nathan has also modified some aspects of PaperCut to suit Clark State’s needs. He noticed that when people changed their email address, the system would create a whole new user profile. He wrote a PowerShell script that allowed the system to recognize the user ID regardless of a change in email address. This also ensured that a new employee’s printing would be logged against the right department for costs.

Another PaperCut advantage is its comprehensive reporting. As Nathan explains, “We have student workers who need access to some of the employee accounts as part of their student jobs. So, I have reports sent out every month to those supervisors saying, here are the students with access to your accounts. Let me know if anything changes; if someone needs removed so that they don’t have access to something they shouldn’t.”

It was also very valuable when the college replaced many of its printers in early 2020. “We were able to use the data from PaperCut – because we had four- or five-years data at that point – to determine where to place printers, where we could pull printers. And we were able to reduce our printer fleet significantly, ensuring we were meeting the needs of our stakeholders and doing so in a cost effective and efficient manner.”