Regents Increase Textbook Rental Fee

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,

Dec. 12, 2008 – The Southeast Missouri State University Board of Regents today approved an increase in the textbook rental fee.

Under the new rates approved today, the textbook rental fee will be $21 per course in fiscal 2010, $23 per course in fiscal 2011 and $25 per course in fiscal 2012.

The textbook rental fee has been $17.75 (plus tax) per course since 2006. Since 2003, when the last increase was approved, the cumulative average of textbook prices has increased 29.8 percent, resulting in an average textbook cost of $75.84, said Kathy Mangels, vice president for finance and administration.

She said the textbook rental fee needs to be increased to keep the textbook rental system from falling into deficit due to the number of new textbooks needed and associated textbook costs.

Southeast’s textbook rental system has been operating since 1915. As an auxiliary operation, the system is designed to be financially self-supporting, Mangels said. She said the textbook rental auxiliary currently contributes $177,000 annually to the University general operating budget for scholarship support, rent and overhead. The scholarship support was intended to fund the University scholarships awarded that cover the cost of textbook rental.

The number of these scholarships has increased to the point that the University has to subsidize about $100,000 of this scholarship expense, Mangels said. The proposed fee increase will allow the textbook rental system to increase the University contribution to cover the current level of textbook rental scholarships awarded.

Mangels says only 20  four-year institutions nationwide have a textbook rental system, and students at most institutions must buy their textbooks at retail prices. The average rental rate for a three-hour course at other textbook rental institutions was $28 in fiscal 2008 based on a study conducted by Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, she said.

The Textbook Rental system is a financial incentive for undergraduate students to attend Southeast and represents a “scholarship” for every student, she said.

“Even with the proposed increase in fees, the average textbook rental rate, based on 15 hours, would be less than $150 per semester, she said. “Students buying their textbooks at other universities spend about $500 to $600 per semester.”

Over a course of four years, the Textbook Rental “scholarship” to each student totals about $3,000, Mangels said.

“This fee increase will allow the Textbook Rental system to remain competitive for students, but remain financially solvent as an auxiliary,” she said.