New program introduced could alter textbook costs’ for students.

If everything goes as expected, PNW students may be able to save on college textbooks starting in the fall.

Pending Board of Trustee approval, the university plans to implement the Instructional Materials Access Program, which will tack on a flat book fee of $299 to a semester’s tuition. 

The voluntary program is the result of a partnership with Follet, a provider of online bookstore services at 80,000 schools in the United States. The $299 fee ($175 for the summer semester) will cover the cost of assigned texts. Students willing to participate may be eligible for financial aid.

The average cost of a college textbook is $105, according to The organization estimates that the average college student spends $628 and $1,471 annually for books and supplies.

The program may help students who have sought creative ways to lower textbook costs.

“To save money this spring I rented books online instead of buying through PNW,” said junior Clarissa Kloutz, a Nursing major. “I also reuse books from previous semesters, and I share rented books among myself and four other classmates. I still spent around $200 in materials for two of my classes.”

“I usually look for ways to get textbooks for free or at a discount,” said the junior Communication major. “There were semesters where textbooks have cost me more than $300, however those were not for my usual set of classes. Next fall I will be opting out as I anticipate not needing any costly textbooks.”

Students who go along with this program can expect to have all required materials ready before their first day of class. The lists of required class materials will be sent to Follet and updated as students enroll. Digital materials will be made available on Brightspace and printed materials will be available for pickup at the PNW Bookstore in Hammond or the General Services office in the Library Student Faculty Building in Westville. An email will be sent to students in August instructing them on when to get their books.

The program assumes students will keep their textbooks after completing their course, but they have the option of reselling books at the PNW Bookstore or on the Follet website.

The program is optional. At the beginning of each semester, students will receive an email giving the student an opportunity to opt out for the semester.