The sky-rocketing debt college students are incurring is more than just a hot-button issue. Between tuition, housing and course materials, students are buried under a mountain of debt they have little hope of ever paying off. It’s not a new problem, it’s one that has been growing for years, but it is receiving more national attention than ever before as student protestors rally together behind the cry for free-tuition. Schools have to look at ways to curb some of the costs or enrollment and retention rates will continue to decline.
California legislators have introduced three dozen bills having to do with making college affordable this year. Meanwhile, educational institutions are looking at ways they can off-set some of the costs. One way that is growing in popularity is adopting an inclusive access model, which includes the cost of course materials in the tuition cost. This model offers several benefits over the traditional separate cost for course materials and tuition.
- Students have all required course materials by the start of class. Faced with having to come up with a way to pay for textbooks at the beginning of each semester, more students are choosing not to make the purchase. The result is many students arrive unprepared for class. This not only increases the stress on the students and the teachers, but can also negatively affect the student’s success and retention rates. An inclusive access model gives every student an equal footing from the start of class regardless of their financial position
- The school retains control over the course fee program. It can set the fee by course, program, term or make a flat-rate. The school is billed for the cost of all the books at a discounted rate and then can choose how to pass that savings along to its students. Not only does this save the students money, but it also avoids the sticker shock of another large bill after the tuition has already been paid. The school can also decide whether to allow purchase, rentals or a combination, giving the students a choice in the format they receive
- Materials can be distributed to the school or the students. This gives your administration the option of a streamlined process without having to worry about the details involved in making sure each student has the correct materials for each of their courses, saving both time and money
Schools like Schreiner University adopted an inclusive access model when administrators began to notice that many students were limiting their chances of success by not purchasing the required course materials.
“Students are, to an alarming degree, beginning to think of textbooks as optional,” Bill Muse vice president of administration and finance at Schreiner University said. “It was having an impact on student learning. We wanted to provide a solution where all students had all of the required materials on the first day of class.”
Schreiner University implemented MBS Direct’s inclusive option, Direct Success. Their students like the all-inclusive model and they can see the school cares about their concerns in regard to the cost of education. By choosing to include course materials in tuition, the students at Schreiner University can start each semester focused on learning and not on how they are going to manage to pay for both course materials and their groceries.