If you work in higher-ed, or even high-school Ed-Tech, your printing budget may already be under assault and your faculty and students screaming at you to buy one more printer to handle the extra printing volume that hits you at the beginning of every semester. Well don't buy that printer!
Of all of the Education IT purchases you could possibly make, purchasing just one more printer is the least cost-effective of them all!
Don't believe me? The average business-class laser printer costs in the neighborhood of $2,000 (including extended warranty over its lifetime). Over the life of the device, it will produce at least 2,000,000 simplex pages. If you can buy paper, toner, and consumable printer parts in volume, you will pay close to $40,000 to produce that printed output over the lifetime of that single $2,000 printer!
If you, instead, spend $2,000 on a server, you could provide your students and faculty with instant access to over 50,000,000 pages worth of information for every 100GB of hard drive space on your server!
The challenge is to train students and (especially) faculty, and administrators, how to avoid printing anything which can be left online. Reading materials, assignments, testing materials, all can be delivered online -- and they should be. Campus-wide wireless access is inexpensive and gives your faculty and students access to on-line materials from those classrooms without wired access as well as from faculty lounges and all areas where students congregate, both inside and out.
To be perfectly clear, you cannot realistically expect your school to go paperless -- no matter how desirable that goal might be. Nevertheless, if you look around, it is easy to find examples of printed pages which end up in your school's recycle bins (or worse, the trash) which should never have been printed in the first place. You might as well have burned the dollars spent on that 'waste' paper!
And don't let your faculty and administrators just replace printer output with copier output. More likely than not, your school is leasing your copiers and paying considerably more than two cents per page for that service. And selling course packets at the nearest bookstore just shifts the cost of printing from your school to your students -- at much higher rates. Encouraging students to print output at home is even worse as personal ink-jet printers cost from 10 to 20 cents per page in ink alone!
As long as already-strained IT budgets have to pick up the tab for printing, your IT goals will be at the mercy of careless faculty and students who have little understanding of the impact their behavior has on your ability to provide them with adequate IT infrastructure.