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UC Saves Students Millions Through Textbook Affordability Initiative

UC has helped students save more than $1.9 million through its Textbook Affordability Initiative, a collaboration of multiple UC offices and departments.

Date: 8/18/2016 12:00:00 AM
By: Katie Taft
Phone: (513) 556-4355

UC ingot   The University of Cincinnati announced today that over the past year it has helped students save more than $1.9 million through its Textbook Affordability Initiative. A collaboration of multiple UC offices and departments, the Textbook Affordability Initiative focuses on finding and developing the most cost-effective means of textbook purchasing possible for UC scholars.

“We remain committed to affordability for those who want a college degree and providing leading-edge digital resources to ensure that they are successful in attaining a degree,” says UC Interim President Beverly Davenport, who championed the initiative during her time as provost. “We are leveraging new technology, open educational resources, and the collective buying power of our students to reduce costs, improve delivery, and better serve student needs.”

One integral part of these cost-reducing strategies has been the Textbook Affordability Committee, which is led by the Office of the Provost, and includes representation from the Faculty Senate, Student Government, UC Libraries, CET&L, IT@UC, Campus Services, the Office of Undergraduate Affairs, the Division of Administration and Finance and the UC Bookstores.

“It is because we have worked in partnership across the university and closely with faculty that we have been able to wield our collective resources to pass along savings to students,” says UC Interim Provost Peter Landgren. “When we do this, we support students, and supporting students is always our focus at UC.”

In addition to affordability, digital textbooks are compliant with the American Disabilities Act. Students can increase font size, use captioning or listen to their textbook as they prefer or need. Committee members have introduced new option including the new eTextbook Project, developed by the Center for Excellence in eLearning, and the growing array of books and learning e-resources made available at UC’s libraries. In addition to online resources, the bookstore provides the Price Match Promise. This allows students to shop at all UC bookstores, which stock 100 percent of all academic materials required and recommended by faculty, while receiving the lowest price in the marketplace.

Faculty have also taken an active role in considering which materials are necessary for their courses, while working to increase the availability and visibility of alternate resources. Many faculty have demonstrated their commitment to textbook affordability through early textbook adoption and migrating to digital formats when appropriate, enhancing the university’s ability to negotiate lower costs. In addition, faculty are working with the UC Bookstores to create custom order materials that align course materials with their curriculum, thus students pay only for materials that are covered in their courses.

“It is the faculty who remain so committed to this issue and know first-hand what reducing costs to students can mean for their performance and motivation,” says Gigi Escoe, UC vice provost for undergraduate academic affairs. “They know what resources work best and continue to be our first and last front on maintaining academic excellence.”

Aligned with the Ohio Department of Higher Education to reduce the cost of education for college students, UC has developed and shared strategies with other Ohio institutions to improve the learning experience of students all over the state. As the University of Cincinnati moves forward, its Textbook Affordability Initiative looks to discover and develop more cost-effective textbook purchasing strategies and alternatives.