Future of textbook rental plan rests on student vote

Madison College students will vote on a proposal to fund an alternative program to purchasing textbooks. Voting starts November 1st, look for the ballot in your student email account.



Books line the shelves at the Truax Campus Bookstore during the first week of the semester. Students will have the chance this fall to vote on a plan for a college-wide textbook rental program.

Tina Marshalek is a political force at Madison College
Tina Marshalek, running textbook affordability campaign.

Textbooks are a necessary evil when it comes to higher education. They can be a burden by their sheer mass and volume students’ must lug around. But they can often be a burden by the steep price tags they carry as well.

That’s why this semester, the Student Senate will hold a referendum vote that would establish a separate fee to finance a complete textbook rental program.

Former Student Senate president Tina Marshalek is leading the Vote Yes For Textbook Affordability Campaign.

She said students often ask, “why aren’t the costs of textbooks included in the final tuition cost?”

Though this proposed textbook rental program, students will pay just $7 extra per credit to fund the program. That is to say, if a student is taking nine credits one semester, they can expect to pay $63 for their textbooks, $84 if they’re taking 12 credits, and so on.

According to Marshalek, normally students pay roughly $600 per semester for their books. But with this program, students will be paying, on average, almost 88 percent less.

When prices could be reduced this drastically, it’s no wonder textbook affordability has been
a hot button issue for students for at least 10 years. This referendum could help solve, or at least greatly alleviate, the financial burden of textbooks.

But this solution didn’t come as easily as some might expect.

“Although we have a lot of support from the college about implementing a full-rental textbook program, the Student Senate did spend a lot of time convincing the college to prioritize textbook affordability and to specifically move forward with a full-rental textbook program,” Marshalek said.

Shelves of books for sale at Madison College
A staff member helps locate a text-book for a student in the Madison College Bookstore.

“But student leaders have encouraged the college to stay focused on the issue until we solve the problem, and their work shows with this upcoming referendum,” she added.

The referendum will be made available for all degree program students to vote on from Nov. 1 through noon on Nov. 6. Ballots will be sent to students’ Madison College emails. From there, simply follow the link provided to vote “yes” or “no.”

Marshalek and members of the Textbook Affordability Campaign Committee will host information tables throughout the fall semester to help answer questions students have about the referendum.

She feels strongly that passing the referendum will help remove what can be a significant financial barrier for those seeking higher education. “With more money in their pockets, or less debt in their future, more

Madison College students should have the opportunity to focus on and continue their education,” Marshalek said.


[ Source: Vote Yes for Textbook Affordability Campaign ]

What is a full-rental textbook program?
In a full-rental textbook program, students pay a separate fee to rent their textbooks through the Madison College Bookstore. The textbooks are returned to the bookstore at the end of the semester.

How much will students pay for the rental program?
The Madison College Budget Office approximates the fee will not exceed $7 per credit. In contrast, The College Board estimates in their 2017-18 Annual Survey of Colleges that the average college student pays $1,200 per year for textbooks.

Will students have to pay out of pocket for any other charges?
Yes, although the fee will cover most costs for textbooks and materials, students might have to pay for additional materials like course packets, workbooks, some online access codes, and kit or equipment packages.

When is the referendum and how do students vote?
The election is November 1st thru the 6th. Like the Student Senate elections, the ballot is sent to all program students’ Madison College emails on the first day of the election. Students vote online and have the option to vote until noon on the final day to vote.

Are any students exempt from the program?
Students who do not pay supplemental fees will exempt from this fee. As a result, they will not be able to rent their books and must purchase them.