How Much Paper Schools Use & How Much It Costs Them

While it might not seem like passing out worksheets in a single classroom is an unusually large amount of paper to use, once you start taking factors like the number of classrooms in the school, the days in the school year, and the overall number of schools in the US into consideration, the numbers on paper use in education quickly start to stack up.

Learn more in this video or the transcription below about statistics on paper use in schools, the calculated costs of that paper consumption, and how to reduce paper use in schools with the help of scanning and digital education records.

Video Transcription

How Much Paper Are Schools Using?

While some might picture school paper consumption as just handing out a few worksheets during class, it’s also important to consider paper use from the larger picture.

When you start multiplying paper use by the number of classes, the days in a school year, and overall number of schools in the US, the numbers on paper use and its cost for schools quickly begins to add up.

Paper Use In Education

How much it costs to use paper

A typical school will use an average of 2,000 sheets per day, meaning that during a full school year of 160 days, a school will chew through over 320,000 sheets of paper per year.

With roughly 100,000 schools in the US, this means that all together schools are consuming as much as 32 billion sheets of paper per year.

How Much Using Paper Costs

With the average cost of a sheet of paper being roughly 5 cents, you can now calculate paper costs based on the total amount being used in US schools per year.

For a school that uses 2,000 sheets per day and 320,000 in a year, they can expect to pay roughly $100 per day and $16,000 per year.

For the US as a whole, with schools using 32 billion sheets per year as much as $1.6 billion is spent on paper annually.

How to Reduce Your Paper Use

Rather than traditional paper-based school records, making the transition to a digital system for managing files can greatly cut back on your paper consumption.

Besides reducing paper use though, digital education files also boost productivity and save time, money, and the space otherwise needed to manage paper records.

For example, rather than the recurring costs of using paper, school records scanning is a one-time cost and removes the need to use more paper for future copies. Common education files to scan include:

  • General and special education files
  • Student transcripts
  • Faculty/personnel files and HR records
  • Financial aid applications and files
  • Student registrations, schedules, and admissions
  • Medical records
  • Student publications (yearbook/newspaper)
  • Accounting and purchasing records

Benefits of Scanning School Records

Going from paper to paperless education records provides four main benefits: saving money, saving time, improving securities and data backups, and ensuring FERPA compliance.

Saving Money: Comparing the Cost of Digital and Paper School Records

Save Money Storing OffsiteDigital School Records

With electronic education records the cost is fairly straightforward—on average the scanning costs 7–12 cents per page, and the larger the project is the lower the cost per page.

Other cost factors to consider though include whether the files are single or double-sided, if prep work is needed, or if you want the scanning to be done on or off site.

Paper School Records

Besides the recurring cost of buying paper where on average 2,000 sheets are used per day at 5 cents each, using paper also comes with indirect costs.

Other costs include the real estate used for filing cabinets, the time you spend looking for and refiling documents (time is money after all), and the money you spend on bulk office supplies.

Saving Time: Streamline Work and Boost Productivity

Quickly Find and Share Files

Scanned files are indexed as they’re implemented in DMS or cloud storage systems, meaning they can be quickly tracked down by keyword search and organized by things like file name and date

Free Up Extra Space

While a 1 TB hard drive can hold 6.5 million document pages and costs $50, a 4-drawer file cabinet only holds 10,000–12,000 files, takes up 9 sq. ft. of floor space, and can cost $1,500.

Version Control and Avoid Duplicates

Rather than paper where a file can be edited multiple times and redistributed with conflicting information, when digital files are edited a single file version is updated and doesn’t require making new copies.

Data Security and Backups: Protect Files and Stay Prepared for Disaster

Electronic education files provide additional securities to not just prevent physical theft like a locking file cabinet, but also to protect from external risks like hacking or disasters like fire and flood. Added protections include:

  • File encryption
  • Tiered access controls
  • Regular data backups

FERPA Compliance: Reduce the Chances of Legal Trouble

Digital Records Management SecurityFERPA (the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) states that schools who receive funds from the US Department of Education can’t disclose student information without the consent of the parents or student after they’ve turned 18.

One of the most common ways schools get into FERPA compliance trouble is either losing school records, or storing and sharing them insecurely.

With digital school records though, they can be encrypted, password-protected, and indexed in a system where files are organized and can be sorted by names, dates, and types—much like the files you keep on a personal computer.

Get Free Quotes on School Record Scanning

At Record Nations we partner with a nationwide network of records scanning and storage providers in order to help schools save on paper costs and make the transition from paper to paperless school records.

Join Boston and Denver public schools, the Harvard University Library, and countless other educational organizations we’ve helped to find the best school records scanning options to meet their needs by simply filling out the form to the right, giving us a call at (866) 385-3706, or contacting us directly using our live chat.

How much paper are schools using infographic