Free printers in the Students’ Union save students £1,600 in four months

Free printers for text-based work in the Union Building have saved University of Portsmouth students £1,600* since being installed.

Over ten thousand copies have been printed since four free printers were installed last September.

The printers were installed after a number of Have Your Say ideas were submitted by students regarding the cost of printing at university.

The issue of printing was of such high importance to our students that our Sabbatical Officers (2016-17) also decided to take it to the university.

The University of Portsmouth later enforced that “no student should have to pay for their text-based coursework to be printed and if their course requires them to print their text-based coursework then the university are required to fund it.”

Vice President of Education and Democracy, Angel Layer, said: “It’s amazing to know that students have been making use of the free printers installed at the Union.”

“I hope students are aware that the university are now required to fund students’ text-based printing if their course requires them to print their coursework.

“I would urge any student who has something they would like to see changed about their academic experience to submit it as an idea via our Have Your Say platform.”

The Union is committed to making academic life easier for students at the University of Portsmouth. If you have an idea of something you’d like to see changed, please submit it via our Have Your Say platform.

*Student savings based on 7,000 black and white copies at 6p per print and 4,000 colour copies at 30p per print.

5 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. what data is taken from us as payment for the copying

    i think the copy machines scan my phone for data that can be sold to pay for the copys i make. so it not free.

    • Hi Federica, the printers located in the Union Building are provided by a third party provider known as PrinttApp. In their privacy statement they are clear that they do not disclose any information about identifiable individuals to their advertisers. More details about user privacy with the PrinttApp printers can be found at and when you register with the App. Thank you.

  2. Can you tell me if these printers print adverts onto the printouts? If they do, do academic departments except submissions with adverts on?


    • Hi Emily, The printers carry an advert unless you choose to pay for printing and we recommend that they are used for coursework notes not for printing coursework. No course should require you to provide text-based printed submissions without covering the cost. This was passed at Academic Council last year.

      The University Printing Services also now provides coursework printing for all current Undergraduate and Postgraduate students free of charge with a 48-hour turnaround from when they receive your PDF file. (72-hour turnaround for Hard Bound Theses.) You would need to speak to your department to see if you are eligible for this, and they can provide you with the details of how you can get this produced.

  3. They’re not “free”, just paid for with your data & privacy. Data is money.

    PrinttApp store your GPS location and keywords from documents you print, for 3 years following your last use of the service (among other data).

    Keywords from documents you print are shared for behavioural advertising purposes online. Your name or address aren’t collected, but print anything sensitive and you may still see ads you don’t want to online, with no possible way to ever remove the data held on your activity.

    It would be nice if students could be warned by the university of the risks of using the printers (small privacy sign?), or even better, if the high tuition fees could be used to subsidise printing costs for students without risk of adverts or data being passed through several companies. (Worst case, PrinttApp are bought by a less well-intentioned company)

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