Magazine article University Business

Textbooks on Reserve

Magazine article University Business

Textbooks on Reserve

Article excerpt

When students in an honors business and professional communications course at Robert Morris University (Pa.) conducted research on textbooks, a survey revealed that 14 percent of their peers knew at least one student who dropped out of school because he or she could not afford to pay for textbooks. And when administrators learned of that finding, they took action.

In the fall of 2012, a textbook reserve program was born. The university purchases several copies of textbooks for the most in-demand courses on campus, placing them on reserve in the Library for students to use for up to three hours at a time. The university spent approximately $10,500 to purchase 170 textbooks, spanning required general education courses. More than 850 students have made use of the textbooks, saving an estimated $300 each semester. According to John Michalenko, vice president for student life and a member of RMU's retention committee, the program is expected to grow next year. It has, he notes, "changed the culture of our classes. More teachers have had their eyes opened to the cost and are now promoting textbook sharing in class, or have reconsidered ordering a new edition of a textbook. They are also being creative with finding other low-cost online or self-created resources. …

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