Chowan launches inclusive-access textbook program

Published 9:19 pm Saturday, August 4, 2018

It is a truth universally acknowledged that college textbooks seem to cost a small fortune these days. The College Board estimates that students spend an average of $1,200 a year on textbooks and supplies, an increase of 82 percent in the past decade.

As part of its commitment to fostering student success, Chowan University will launch the Hawk Flight Book Program this fall. The inclusive-access textbook rental program aims to make course materials affordable and accessible to every student.

The most ambitious students cobble together a number of different solutions to mitigate costs, including the purchase of used books, book rentals through retailers like Amazon, and buyback programs that allow them to recoup some of their investment for pennies on the dollar at the end of each semester. Yet these measures are time-consuming and complicated for students and include the risk of ending up with old and outdated books instead of the required version.

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Increasingly, students across the country are throwing up their hands in despair and opting to forge ahead without any textbooks at all. A recent U.S. Public Interest Research Group survey found that 65 percent of students surveyed chose not to purchase a required textbook due to cost. Of that group, 94 percent reported they were concerned that the choice would hurt their grade in class. Of course, students can’t learn from books they can’t afford to purchase in the first place. In fact, success metrics indicate a full letter-grade improvement on average for 25 to 50 percent of students who have full access to required materials when compared to those who do not.

“We believe all Chowan students should have access to textbooks,” says Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Danny Moore. “The days of students not having textbooks because they can’t afford them are in the past.”

Both affordable and convenient, the Hawk Flight Book Program harnesses the purchasing power of the university to reduce the cost of course materials to individual students. The flat rate per semester offers a cost savings of approximately 50 percent, covers all textbooks and computer access codes, and is extended to all students automatically upon enrollment. This helps students and parents by lowering the costs of textbooks while also making them a budgeted expense. In addition, Chowan University advisors are poised to help evaluate student course loads each semester to determine whether or not the textbook program will indeed save money. If it would make more financial sense to rent or purchase textbooks on their own, Chowan makes it easy for students to opt out.

Chowan University Vice President for Business and Finance Danny Davis says the response so far has been overwhelmingly positive, especially from parents. “The program represents a $1.4 million risk on the part of the university,” he adds. “We believe it’s worth it to demonstrate our commitment to our students.”

Chowan University has also taken pains to make sure the Hawk Flight Book Program is simplified and streamlined, eliminating hassle for students and parents. Course materials for participating students should be prepackaged and ready for students to pick up at check-in. As a result, students should have 100 percent of their course materials in hand on day one. Returning books will be equally as easy. Students will simply hand them in when they take their final exam or turn in their final project.

“We know student success goes up tremendously when students have textbooks,” says Chowan University President Kirk E. Peterson. “We believe this program has the potential to be transformational for our students. This is just another way that Chowan demonstrates the faith in your future that is at the heart of our institution.”

For more information about the Hawk Flight Book Program, visit