Students will be able to go to the Matador Bookstore and rent select textbooks during the coming Fall semester when the campus test-runs a new program meant to offset increasing tuition fees.
With annual textbook costs for a full-time student ranging from $800 to $1,000, textbook rentals could save students about two-thirds of that price, said Harry Hellenbrand, provost and vice president of academic affairs.
“When you observe the amount of money students spend on books, and if you take a look at the number of students who sell back their books, it makes sense to try this,” Hellenbrand said.
“Fees are going up. Transportation costs are going up. These are things we can’t control,” Hellenbrand said. “We have to look for ways to defray costs.”
Hellenbrand says everyone, including professors, must be flexible because the college must charge higher fees to offset the shortfall in funding from the state.
Because professors must commit to using the same textbook for three years, needless updates that cost students money will be avoided, Hellenbrand said.
Matador Bookstore Director Amy Berger said five professors signed up for the test-run of the Rent-a-Text program. The full list of textbooks for the test-run will be finalized within the next few weeks.
Professors Michael Neubauer (Developmental Mathematics), Ivor Weiner (Special Education), Ashley Skylar (Special Education), Meiqin Wang (Art) and Dianne Philibosian (Recreation and Tourism Management) have signed on for the three-year commitment.
The classes are MATH 92 and 93: Developmental Math I and II, SPED 504MM: Teaching Diverse Learners with Mild/Moderate, ART 114: World Art and RTM 278/278OL: Recreation ‘ Leisure in Contemporary Society.
Michael Neubauer, director of the Developmental Math Program, says about 2,400 CSUN students take the two math courses each year, which are taught by 25 instructors in more than 50 sections.
“All the work is done by the bookstore,” Neubauer said. “All we have to do to participate is commit to three years.”
“We were happy to do our part to help lower costs for students,” Neubauer said.
University Corporation Administrative Services Manager Rick Evans said the goal was to offer three to five textbook titles for the test with the Matador Bookstore, which is run by Follett College Stores, Inc.
“Although there is a lot of interest from professors to participate, this is a manageable size with which to work out the details. A 65 percent discount is fantastic. We’re excited to be one of the first in the country to be participating in the test with Follett,” Evans said.
Berger said the test-run would have more than one measure of success.
Each book needs to be rented during several academic terms to break even.
“There are many factors for measuring success including financials, sell-through or program participation, faculty and staff buy-in, and anecdotal feedback and comments from students,” Berger’s e-mail response shows. “We’re the school’s partner in education, and we’ll continue to test new ways to encourage all students to have and use their course materials.”