As the cost of educational materials continues to rise, an increasing number of students delay the purchase of course materials, or don’t purchase books at all. To combat this, the ability to include books in students’ course material fees is gaining a significant amount of discussion in the academic world.
Combined with the mounting pressure on institutions to improve on student success, the idea of every student showing up to the first day of class with books in-hand is an appealing one.
Fortunately, we here at MBS Direct have over 20 years of experience delivering course materials included as a part of the student’s tuition. With that experience, we know that a course material fee program should provide:
- Academic Freedom – Institutions should not be “locked in” to certain curriculum by vendors. Allowing your faculty to choose the materials that are most up to date and work best for their teaching style should always be of utmost importance.
- No Risk – All costs of a course material fee program should be clear and stated upfront. There should never be additional or unknown charges applied months after textbook delivery because of actions that students have, or have not taken.
- Student Choice – Students should be able to choose to keep their books if they desire, or sell them for the highest value possible. They should also be allowed to take advantage of savings that digital books can provide where available.
- Flexibility – Consider an option that lets you set prices per material, by course, by program or at a flat fee. This will make sure you have the options that are right for your institution's needs as well as your student's perception of your program.
- Lower Cost – Course material fee programs provide additional sales for vendors with lower risk on inventory, and those savings should be returned to the institution and students.
Recently, the U.S. Department of Education released new regulations that go into effect on July 1, 2016, requiring automatic fulfillment models such as course material fee programs to provide students an opportunity to opt out of the program. The success of these programs, particularly in lowering cost, is dependent on close to 100% student participation. It is critical that students are satisfied with the program and continue to participate in order for the program to be successful. MBS Direct can help you with the process of students opting out of the program, and we can set up an online bookstore with all of the ordering options for students to facilitate those orders as well.
Are you interested in exploring a course fee program? Contact us today and see how we can create a custom program that meets the specific needs of your institution.