This year, NSU implemented IncludED, a textbook program designed to save students money and increase student success in the classroom by making the required materials available on day one.
Dr. Greg Handel, the provost and vice president of academic & student affairs, said that NSU is not the only university to implement big changes with textbooks this year.
“About a year ago, the University of Louisiana System charged all campuses in the system, so nine universities, with the task of reducing textbook and course material costs for students,” Handel said.
Handel said that starting last September, all NSU department heads worked together with the previous provost, Dr. Vickie Gentry, and assistant to the provost academic support and axillary services Jennifer Kelly, to look at over 200 textbooks to find where students could save the most on course materials.
The average student saved 62% on textbooks for 132 different classes. One example of some serious savings is Financial Accounting. Previously, a new print textbook would cost a student $393.25. The new price for fall 2019 with IncludED is only $60.
NSU was able to snag such significant discounts is by adding the textbook cost to the course fee, ensuring that all students in the class purchase the textbook unless they opt out of the program entirely.
Despite the lofty goals of the program, the implementation has hit a few snags.
Automatically being included in the program has led to a few complaints from students who might not have purchased the required book from the bookstore including junior Antanae’ Baylock.
“I opted out because only one of my books was included, and I found it much cheaper on Amazon,” Baylock said.
Senior Sidnie Spinks opted out for similar circumstances. She saved over $40 on one book by buying through Amazon.
Students were also confused with the sudden appearance of new charges on their bills, and they flooded the student concerns page with questions and attempting to opt out of IncludED.
Some classes have yet to receive their materials, either due to the bookstore not having the physical copies or technical difficulties with the digital copies.
Dr. Jim Mischler, head of the department of English, foreign languages, and cultural studies, found this to be the case in some of his classes because many students have yet to obtain access to print or digital textbooks.
Other students and professors reported similar issues, attributing them to how new the program is. Mischler is confident that these issues will be swiftly resolved and that the program will be very successful for several years to come once any initial issues are resolved.
Other students seem happy with the program so far, especially with the reduced out-of-pocket expenses.
“Being a student myself, I know what an obstacle expensive textbooks and materials can be,” Jacob Ellis, SGA president, said. “This program is going to really help alleviate some of the burdens on students by saving them money.”
Handel said the administration hopes that the success of this program will lead to even more textbooks being added to the IncludED program and that one day there could even be a flat rate for all textbooks, allowing students to know exactly how much their materials will cost even before registering for classes.
To figure out textbooks savings for this year, check out http://www.nsula.edu/auxiliary/included for a complete list of book prices and their previous costs.