What would you do if you suddenly discovered unallocated budget in your school, college or university? Would you spend it on additional teaching resource, on student support for those that need it most, or to deliver stretch to those with untapped potential? The possibilities are endless. But often finding that unused financial resource is the hardest part.

However, increasingly, schools are catching on to print management as a way to free up resources that can be redistributed where it’s needed.

The state of the education budget in the UK

Before the pandemic, total education spending in the UK stood at £104 billion – that was 4.4% of the national income back in 2019–20. It’s also 8% lower than it was in 2010–11 when educational spending represented 5.6% of the national income. In the 2021 Budget, Rishi Sunak claimed that by 2024, educational spending will be back at the 2010 spend levels per child.

Education budgets are tight, so any way in which they can be eased should be an important part of any school’s financial strategy.

Printing costs in education

The copying and printing room in any school is notorious for waste. Photocopiers and printers running unattended and reams of paper stuffed into waste bins are a common sight. Printing has always been both an essential and costly part of life for any education provider.

Ray Fleming, Education Marketing Manager for Microsoft, says schools often spend more on printing than they do on IT.

According to an article in Education Executive, “An average school will use 1m sheets of paper a year and spend £60,000 on photocopying but only £56,000 on IT.”

As students have come to rely more on technology as part of their everyday work, printer use has increased, with teachers and students both contributing to print queues.

The costs of printers and printing equipment have spiralled as emerging technologies accommodate environmental considerations, security concerns and other printing and copying capabilities.

Then there are the constantly increasing costs of consumables such as inks and toners, paper, and power.

The increasingly complex educational landscape

If this wasn’t all complicated enough, these last two years have seen further complexity for educational establishments. Students unable to get into school and without access to IT equipment, dependent on print-outs for their education.

And with so much home-schooling, the printing costs are fluctuating more than ever. Some months budgets are not used and other months they are exceeded dramatically. Some equipment sits unused for months at a time. Other pieces take a daily battering from the printing demands of students, teachers and parent-teacher associations.

Then there’s the practicality of accessing engineers when needed. With people having to work from home or having to isolate with any sign or symptom of illness, access to engineers has become increasingly more difficult. This means that when a printer is out of action, the length of time it’s offline can be substantial. And when engineer availability is scarce, the costs of servicing and repairs can skyrocket.

How managed print can help drive down costs

Predictable hardware and consumable costs all in one monthly invoice

With Managed Print Services schools, colleges, universities and other education providers can choose to opt into printing as a service. With a regular monthly fee, they can be confident that they will have working printers that offer the capabilities they need. And, with just one monthly fee, they avoid the need for high levels of capital investment and minimise the risk of wasted resources.

Understand your print usage

With ASL’s Managed Print Services, you can monitor your print usage, by device, in one single portal, so you can see where the waste is coming from and how you can reduce it. Once you understand the source of your waste, you can then take measures to limit it, for example, by introducing individual print limits on staff or students.

Manage your print consumables

With Managed Print it also becomes much easier to manage your consumables on one screen, so you can see how much ink or toner you have and know exactly when you need to order replacements to ensure seamless operation. You can even book service calls too, reducing the time spent waiting on a call for an operator to raise a ticket and deploy an engineer.

Reduce time sapped with printing issues

Delivering managed print services remotely also reduces the amount of time that your staff need to spend on printer related issues, reordering, stock management, and the time saved on these administrative tasks can be better used elsewhere.

And then there’s the enhanced security

Aside from all of these useful ways in which managed print services can reduce the cost of printing within your educational establishment, using a Managed Print Service can also enhance your data security and demonstrate that you are taking measures to manage your data effectively as required by GDPR.

By switching to a Managed Print Service, there are many ways you can save money that can be redirected to where it’s needed most. To find out more about switching to Managed Print Services with ASL, visit Managed Print Services – ASL Group (asl-group.co.uk)