Friday, September 03, 2010

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin discusses textbook affordability at UIS

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) held a news conference at the University of Illinois Springfield on September 2, 2010 to discuss the College Textbook Affordability Act.

Durbin authored the legislation, which went into effect in July. The law, designed to bring down costs for financially struggling students, requires publishers to provide professors with the price of a textbook, which colleges must then include in their course catalogues.

“I found many times that professors literally didn’t know how much the book cost. Now the professors would be advised in advance the cost of a textbook,” said Durbin.

The act also requires that textbooks and supplemental materials sold as a bundle must also be sold individually.

“I personally know several students that have saved hundreds of dollars a semester thanks to his law,” said Matt Van Vossen, UIS student government association (SGA) president.

Durbin isn’t stopping at just making traditional textbooks more affordable. He’s introduced a new bill, which if passed, would provide financial incentives for universities to move towards online textbooks.

“I think the world of textbooks as we see it today is going to change dramatically. I don’t think textbooks will go away completely, but I think more and more textbooks will be available online,” said Durbin.

Durbin is encouraged by programs, such as Rent-A-Text, which was launched on the UIS campus this summer. Students have the potential to save up to 50% off the price of a new textbook through the program.

“I think this rental program is a great program. I know myself, I saved over $200,” said Erin Wilson, an SGA senator who spoke at the news conference.

For more information on Rent-A-Text read our previous UIS Newsroom coverage

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