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Wright State pilot program saves students thousands on textbooks

A Wright State University pilot program designed to save students money on textbooks ended up saving them almost double what was originally estimated.

Around 1,029 students participated in the program, called Inclusive Courseware, and they saved more than $102,400 combined on textbooks this spring, according to WSU. The savings amounts to a 48 percent average decrease in what students paid for textbooks and the online content that goes with them.

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The price of textbooks has dramatically outpaced the rate of inflation in the U.S. for the last 15 to 20 years so the savings could be a boon to college students. If Wright State’s pilot is eventually implemented at all of Ohio’s public universities and community colleges, it could save students a combined $300 million per year.

The results have prompted Wright State to expand the program from nine to 40 courses this fall which will include up to 6,105 students. At this point, it’s estimated that students will save a combined $651,000 on textbooks through the program this fall, according to the university.

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“We are definitely leading the way among Ohio’s colleges and universities on textbook affordability,” said Dan Krane, a WSU professor who also serves as chairman of the university’s affordability and efficiency task force.

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The pilot project was able to save students money because it increases Wright State’s bargaining power by negotiating the price of textbooks with bookstores for all students rather than just one. Wright State’s bookstore operator is Barnes & Noble, according to the school.

Wright State isn’t the only are university that’s tried to cut down on textbook costs in recent years. The University of Dayton started giving out a $4,000 book scholarship to students who visit campus and fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, commonly known as FAFSA.

Wittenberg University launched a price management program with Barnes & Noble last year and Miami University and a few other schools have started offering open source educational materials that are free to use or copy.

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