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Students Need Help with Text Costs, EMU Responds

A recent survey of EMU students shows that most students worry about affording required readings—only 10.6% of students were not at all worried. 35.4% of students told us that they frequently do not purchase the required text and 39.9% of students frequently use an older edition. Due to high text costs, 46.5% report earning a poor grade, 16.9% report failing at least one course, 35.5% reported taking fewer courses, and 26.3% dropped at least one course. EMU students often avoid courses with high text costs and some have even changed majors due to text costs. The survey also showed that 72.8% of students were dissatisfied with purchasing codes for online homework systems, and even more students (76.6%) were dissatisfied when they were automatically charged a fee for a textbook/homework system.
 More survey results.

The EMU Library Textbook Affordability Initiative works with instructors and other campus partners to lower text costs. This Summer the Library is partnering with the Faculty Development Center to offer an online workshop for faculty on text affordability.

Recently EMU Student Government contributed another $20,000 so the library could continue to expand library ebooks used to support classes. Library ebook versions of texts make a difference for students. When offered the option of a library ebook for course reading, 89.6% of student respondents said that they used the library ebook and 27.6% of students said “If there was no free library ebook version, I would not have read the book.” Students responded to the survey with hundreds of thoughtful comments, such as:

"Library ebooks are incredibly helpful, easy and simple to use, and show that EMU does care about its students."

"I would actually do the readings and come to class prepared for the discussion."

"It's a huge relief when the required readings are provided for free. I feel better about the course and the professor because everything I need to succeed was provided."

"This was so helpful. As a single mother, I was unable to purchase all the books on the reading list."

"I'm already going to have  a lot of student debt, so just this small amount that I am able to save makes a huge difference to me."

More student comments

Faculty can use the Textbook Alternatives guide to explore options or request library ebooks for courses. Faculty can also reach out to their Subject Librarian for assistance in finding textbook alternatives to evaluate for adoption.

May 31, 2023

Halle Library, 955 W. Circle Dr, Ypsilanti MI, USA 48197 Phone:734.487.0020