Nicholls offers free access to student textbooks

Nicholls State University has begun offering free access to all required textbooks for general education courses in the university’s library.

The books in the Ellender Memorial Library will change each semester with the list of required reading for each course. General education courses are typically taken in the beginning of student’s time in college and cover basic math, English, fine arts, humanities, science and social studies.

Students who attended a four-year in-state university for the 2017-18 spent about $1,250 on textbooks, according to the College Board, a nonprofit that aims to prepare students for college.

The average price of a new textbook increased from $58 in 2011-12 to $80 in 2015-16, according to the National Association of College Stores. The average price of a used textbook was $53 in 2011-12 and $51 in 2015-16.

Nicholls President Jay Clune said the free books are the first step in a plan to reduce the financial burdens on students and their families.

“This initiative provides an opportunity for our students to easily access information directly related to their education,” said Clune. “I want to thank the staff at Ellender Memorial Library for helping us achieve this goal. I will continue to work with the library staff to make as many of the required books free for our students in as many courses as possible.”

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Student Spending on Textbooks Declines to $579 or Less during 2016-2017 Academic Year

Spending on course materials has declined by around 15% over the past decade

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Research from Student Monitor® and the National Association of College Stores (NACS) found that student spending on textbooks and course materials declined for the second year in a row. The Student Watch survey from NACS reported a $23 decline in spending from $602 in the 2015-2016 academic year to $579 in 2016-2017. Student Monitor reported a $64 decline from $607 in 2015-2016 academic year to $543 in 2016-2017. Spending on course materials has declined by around $100 over the past ten years (about 15%) when the average spend was between $672 and $701.

The transition to less expensive digital materials, increasing use of rental options for both print and digital materials, and a competitive retail market are among the factors that have led to the spending decline.

Both studies found the average price per unit (new, used, print, digital, or rented) was $66 during the 2016–2017 academic year. The cost of new print textbooks declined by around 13% from $91 in the 2015–2016 academic year to $80 in the 2016-2017 academic year, according to Student Monitor.

Specific reasons for the spending decline include:

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