New Federal Textbook Rules Already In Use At MC

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Who loves following federal law? I don’t! But I recently found out about new federal regulations that effects Marietta College students and their textbook purchasing decisions.

The Higher Education Opportunity Act goes into effect July 1st, and contains many different things (thanks to Disruptive Library Technology Jester for the breakdown of the law).  One part that is important to students is that there are new textbook disclosure rules to help make class selections and book purchasing decisions a bit easier.

According to the law, colleges are now required to show what books and materials are required and/or recommended for each course at the time of scheduling.  Back when you scheduled, you should have noticed a book icon listed for each class.  Clicking on the icon will tell you what is required for the course, the price, and the ISBN.  Not all classes have books listed, so you may see “To Be Determined” and “No Required Materials” notes instead.  Textbook bundles must also be sold separately, with bundled and non-bundled options listed – including pricing breakdowns.

Ed. Note – According to a rep from the National Association of College Stores, which commented on the article, books are allowed to be bundled still.  Writing on the Mall apologizes for the error.  Here’s what they said:

Under the law, institutions do not have to sell or list textbook bundles seperatly. Publishers need to disclose such information to faculty, but faculty are free to continue to adopt bundles as required. Publishers do not have to offer unbundled for any package they determine as “integrated”.

Another change is that publishers are required to tell professors more information about books they may use for classes.  Professors will now know how much the book costs, what revisions have been made to the book, and other editions of the book in different formats (including their prices).

HEOA also asks for book options to be publicized better by the institution, including renting textbooks, buying used books, and digital textbooks.

Like I mentioned earlier, Marietta College has already adopted the new requirements in its online scheduling system.

Follett Higher Education Group, the company that owns the Marietta College Bookstore, has been advertising it’s own book rental program called Rent-A-Text.  Follett is trying to compete with Chegg (A person favorite!), a popular book rental service that has been around for a few years.  Half.com and Amazon are other great choices for used textbooks.