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Is there a print quota or charge for printing?


MIT uses the Pharos hold-and-release system for public printing in order to reduce paper waste and abandoned jobs. There is a print quota for all MIT users.

Community Member Quota ($$ per year)
Student 300
Faculty/Staff 300
Alumni/ae** 300
Affiliate/Other** 300

Printing costs per page:

  • Black and white: $0.10
  • Color: $0.20

* Please note that a "page" is defined as a single sheet of paper – a double-sided page counts as 1 page and a single-sided page also counts as 1 page. The quota is reset in June of each year.

** In all cases, you need a valid MIT user account (a.k.a. Kerberos account or Athena account) and a valid MIT ID Card to print to Pharos. For affiliates and alums, normal sponsorship rules for accounts apply. Just wanting to print is not itself sufficient justification to get a guest account. Please see Guest Accounts for details.

Can I check how much I've used?

Yes. Visit and log in to check your printing quota.

What happens if I exceed the quota?

Current students (as determined by the Registrar's Office) will be able to continue to print. Students who exceed their print quota may be periodically contacted by IS&T to discuss their printing needs; this is not a punitive measure, but rather allows IS&T to explore other options for printing, such as expansion of print-on-demand services for course readers, etc.

Faculty, staff, visitors, affiliates, and students who are not currently registered will be unable to print beyond $300. Anyone who exceeds the quota is encouraged to make use of printing resources provided by their department, lab, or center.

Quota counts are reset over the summer.

If students require an increase, please contact

Can I get a refund?

If your print job is smudged, creased or otherwise damaged, please contact the TechCash office for a credit.

How was the print quota number derived?

We examined printing logs over the course of an academic year. IS&T arrived at the $300 number in cooperation with the Undergraduate Association. Based on our information, no student exceeded the $300 number, nor did over 95% of all MIT Community members.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
MIT supports and encourages recycling - please use the paper recycling bins to dispose of any printouts you do not need. Please do NOT throw trash into the recycling bins.

Only print out what you actually need. Whenever possible, please conserve paper by printing double-sided, or by sharing a single copy of course notes with other people in your class.

Do I get my unused printing dollars back at the end of the year?

No, your quota amount is listed in dollars because the vendor systems we use display them that way. Your printing quota has no cash value that can be refunded to you. It is merely a way to grant you the ability to print until you use up your quota.

See Also

IS&T Contributions

Documentation and information provided by IS&T staff members

Last Modified:

July 23, 2021

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