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The Et Cetera

The Et Cetera

New contract lowers cost of textbooks, saves money

By Vanessa Trevino

Rising textbook prices and increasing tuition costs continue to plague students.
Textbook prices have gone up 800 percent since 1972, about 8 percent a year, according to the College Board.
The Dallas County Community College District recently cut costs for its students with a five-year, $1.75 million deal with textbook company Follet Higher Education Group, which operates the district’s bookstores.
DCCCD will no longer take a commission on textbook sales, reducing prices up to 33 percent.
“The Illustrated Man,” this year’s common book, went from $14.99 to $10 after the contract went into effect. These savings can be seen in core textbooks for English, history and government.
Billy Cunningham, an AAS renewable energy major, is always looking for a way to save.
“The Eastfield bookstore does have everything necessary, and often times you won’t find a certain book online that you may need,” he said. “I bought a book that wasn’t available online, so it’s going to help me save some money and
I’ll be able to get an extra lunch or something instead of having to come to Student Life and eat ramen noodles.”
The change took affect March 1.
“This new bookstore contract is one concrete way in which DCCCD can meet our board of trustees’ strategic priorities that focus on promoting student success and removing barriers to college completion,” Chancellor Joe May said in a press release.
Although the Follet online bookstore and the bookstore located in N-100 on campus have alternatives for lower book costs, including renting or buying used books, the prices can still be a burden for students who have other expenses such as tuition fees and transportation costs.
Even books purchased through Amazon and Ebay are not economic enough for some students.
Eastfield’s tuition was raised this semester from $52 per credit unit to $59 per credit unit, and according to a study done by the Government Accountability Office, book prices have gone up by 82 percent in the last decade alone.
The contract is intended to help all DCCCD students and not just a select few, according to a DCCCD press release.
Most bookstore contracts use the commissions earned on textbooks to award scholarships to a select few students who apply for them. Eradicating the commission sales allows for an overall savings that applies to nearly every student.
“I sometimes don’t buy books because of the prices,” communications major Jarvin Lockett said. “When I try to sell them back, I know I’m not going to get my money back. So why would I buy a book knowing I won’t get the full refund?”
Students will still be able to rent textbooks under the new Follet contract, saving them even more money than the $600 averaged annual savings students can expect to see.
According to Public Agenda, a nonpartisan public policy research firm, the No. 1 reason students drop out of college is due to the lack of finances, or the inability to find a balance between work and school.
“I am glad that the Dallas Community College District has decided to put students before profiteering,” Cunningham said.

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    Anthony CataldoApr 9, 2015 at 6:03 am

    My students complain about the cost of textbooks, so I did something about it:
    Below is the link to a free or open-source Introduction to Financial Accounting text that you are welcome to make available to your students/classmates via a public service announcement:
    A.J. Cataldo II, PhD, CPA, CMA, CGMA, Professor of Accounting, West Chester University
    PS: Feel free to distribute to other university newspapers via any professional associations or through social media or any other means.