Thinking creatively about providing supplies isn’t a trait relegated to primary or secondary educators. It’s also practiced at the college level.
At Kenai Peninsula College in Soldotna, there are several systems in place to help offset the cost of the numerous books students must purchase.
“One of the things that is unique to this college is how some instructors spend a lot of time agonizing over what books to use. They know some students have financial issues, so they’ll work hard to get the best materials they can that are still affordable for students,” said Gwen Gere, bookstore manager at KPC and a student herself.
In some cases cheaper prices may be found when dealing with used book distributors.
“We usually get in about a pallet of used books here, and it represents a significant savings that I think students appreciate,” she said.
Like many colleges, the KPC bookstore also buys books back from students at the end of the semester.
“If they can be used again, we generally buy books back for half of what the student (initially) paid. The amount of buybacks varies from semester to semester, but for spring and fall of 2006, we paid out about $16,000 in books bought back from students,” she said.
The library pitches in, too, according to Jane Fuerstenau, library director at the college.
“Some professors have a free copy of a textbook that on approval from the book manufacturer they’ll make available for students to use in the library,” she said.
Fuerstenau said some instructors also ask the library to purchase one copy of a textbook for the same purpose.
“They have to guarantee they’ll use the book for four semesters, which can be tough since some courses are only offered once every four semesters,” she said.
Fuerstenau said some instructors also opt to use supplemental material instead of multiple textbooks, which she said has many benefits for students beyond saving a couple bucks.
“It’s also a good way to provide materials and draw articles from many different sources. But, the downside is copyrights only allow the articles to be used for one semester and instructors can’t make copies for every students in class,” she said.
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