August 23- August 30, 2007 Edition

UNC Book Rental
Program to Help
Students Ease Costs

RALEIGH, NC/8/20/07­-U.S. textbook prices have been rising at double the rate of inflation for the past two decades, according to a Government Accountability Office study, leaving many college students without textbooks. The University of North Carolina, however, may have found a solution that other campuses will copy. Beginning in January 2008, UNC will rent their books. The UNC Board of Governors has mandated that each of its campuses must have a book rental program in place by that date to guarantee books for large introductory courses.

In addition the UNC Board will begin taking into account the cost of textbooks before approving any tuition increases.

According to a story in the Raleigh, North Carolina News Observer the new UNC system of textbook rentals, and buyback programs will help students foot costly prices of books which can cost as much as $250 each.

Campuses are also exploring ways to help students save money, by encouraging professors to choose books earlier so stores can acquire enough used copies to meet demand. They’re urging students to buy their books during the state’s tax-free weekend. And they’re making plans to buy back more used books and then resell them the following semester, the News Observer said.

A 2005 Government Accounting Office study showed students at four-year schools spent, on average, about $900 for books and supplies in 2003-04, more than a quarter of the cost of tuition and fees. At community colleges, the GAO study found, the books amounted to almost three-quarters of the cost.

The UNC’s guaranteed buyback plan is expected to improve the situation, especially for freshmen and sophomores who take a lot of introductory classes. The plan is expected to increase the number of books available for re-purchase because original owners will be paid a higher price to sell their books to the buyback program when they have completed courses.