Fairmont State students working with administration to lower textbook costs

FAIRMONT, W.Va. — Students at Fairmont State University are saying enough is enough when it comes the costs of textbooks.

Student representatives at FSU have spoken to the school’s Board of Governors in an attempt to find an alternative source for learning materials for students attending classes. The recent discussions have been a result of textbooks and other required materials for courses at Fairmont State becoming a finanical burden for students, according to Tyler Keller, VP of the FSU Student Government Association.

“We see this issue all across our campus,” Keller said on WAJR-Clarksburg’s “The Gary Bowden Show” this week. “Along with parking, which is not as nearly as serious, but it’s the highest out of pocket cost for students.”

The costs of textbooks has grown exponentially over the years. According to College Board, the average costs for textbooks have become approximately $1,200 per semester per student. These costs are generally not included in finanical aid or grant or scholarship packages for FSU students, Keller said.

“So we see this big plummet in retention and our biggest goal, our biggest incentive is keeping students in college and having them being able to afford their textbooks and other class material,” he said.

According to Keller, multiple alternatives have been discussed for students to not only get the resources they need to succeed at FSU, but to do it in an affordable fashion. This has included the well-known practice of buying used books as well as looking at digital sources to supplement.

Fortunately the Fairmont State Board of Governors and faculty have responded positively to the issue, he added.

“The Board of Governors and the administration has been extremely intrigued and interested in looking to move this forward,” said Keller. “And professors, for the most part, have been extremely supportive.”

So far, nothing has been officially done to address this growing issue. While Keller has stated that there have been discussions with members of student government and FSU department heads, there have been many minor but crucial roadblocks to coming up with a solution. Among them, Keller said, would include teachers having to change class plans and find secondary sources of learning in areas where it’s already scarce — like the School of Nursing.

“In the long run, it’s going to be more beneficial not only for students but for professors also,” he said. “It’s going to have the effect of a more cohesive classroom, every student is going to have your textbook, you’re not worried about who may or may not have your textbook, you’re not going to have to worry. As a professor, you’re not going to have to buy a copy of the book and have it on reserve in the library.”

The Fairmont State University Board of Governors is expected to address this issue in the near future.

Story by Joe Nelson

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