CSU Loan-A-Book Program

Published on September 17th, 2014

Dear CSU Students,

As you know, one of the many benefits of taking courses with CSU is that textbooks are provided at no cost to students. Studies have shown that at traditional universities, the average cost of textbooks and supplies can run upwards of $1,200 per year. By providing the textbooks at no cost, we feel that we provide the opportunity for our students to significantly reduce the overall cost of obtaining a college degree.

Of course, that being said, one of the largest expenses CSU incurs every year is the cost of textbooks. In an effort to keep tuition rates low and help mitigate this ever increasing cost, CSU will begin to phase in a couple of initiatives aimed at reducing textbook cost and, in many cases, improving the overall student experience. This will be done all while continuing to provide books at no cost.

Starting with enrollments received on or after October 1, 2014, several of our courses will utilize the Loan-a-Book program instead of the Book Grant program. You may have heard about the increasing popularity of book rental programs across the country used by students at traditional universities as a way to reduce book expenses. Our program is essentially the same except we will be “renting” the texts at no cost to the students. Students will still receive an actual hard-copy textbook for each course. The only difference is that students will be required to return the textbook once the course has been completed. After enrollment in one of these courses, students will be provided detailed textbook return instructions along with a return label via e-mail. Only those textbooks not returned will be charged to the students’ accounts. Students will be informed prior to finalizing their enrollment if they have selected a course that is in the Loan-a-Book program. Utilizing this program will allow CSU to control costs, continue to provide textbooks at no cost to students, and enable CSU to keep tuition rates low. The Loan-a-Book program will be implemented with a small group of courses at first and then phased in over time.

Also, in the fourth quarter of 2014, CSU will begin to offer electronic books or e-books in some of our courses. Again, these will be at no cost to the student. This initiative is another way CSU can control the increasing cost of textbooks. Just as importantly, we believe e-books offer a number of benefits to the students that will improve their educational experience. Here are just a few of the advantages that e-books offer:

1. Instant Delivery – E-books can be delivered immediately to the student. Students will no longer have to wait on books to be shipped, which may mean students can start their courses sooner.

2. Portability – E-books are stored digitally, which, of course, means there will no longer be a need to carry around large textbooks or book bags.

3. Media Friendly – E-books can be interactive and contain audio, video and animations, which can enhance the learning experience.

4. Searchable – E-books allow students to search for specific topics in a much quicker manner than with traditional text.

5. Printable – E-books are able to be printed in sections and students will have the option to order a “print-on-demand” paper copy of the text for a small fee if so desired.

E-books are very common in higher education today and we are actually somewhat behind in adopting them at CSU. Of course, we also understand these changes will take some getting used to. As such, we plan to implement these initiatives in a small number of courses to begin with and then carefully phase them in over time. As indicated above, you will be aware of courses using e-books or the Loan-A-Book program during the enrollment process and prior to finalizing your enrollment.

Thank you,

Thank you,
Robert Mayes

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