HCC Introduces Textbook Rental Program

Houston Community College is joining the ranks of schools across the state offering students the option to 'rent' their textbooks. David Pitman reports.
A typical full-time student at HCC spends between $500 and $800 a semester on textbooks.

"That's the cost of tuition for students at Houston Community college."

Chancellor Dr. Mary Spangler says books have become so expensive that at least a third of the students in the system don't even bother buying them.

"We also know that students who don't have books, don't complete courses, aren't successful. So we gotta find a way to reduce those costs."

One way to do that is to allow students to 'rent' their textbooks, for about half the cost. Students can use highlighters on their rental books as if they had bought them. All they have to do is return the books within ten days after finals and they have to be in reasonable shape.

"If they are not in usable condition, or if you fail to return them, you don't get a chance to re-register for classes."

Similar textbook rental programs are making their debut this fall at community colleges in Dallas, Waco, and Laredo, among other cities. HCC Chancellor Spangler says the college is looking at more ways to bring the expense of textbooks down even further with the adoption of free, open-source books online, and e-readers that can download text at a fraction of the cost of a hard-bound book.

David Pitman, KUHF News.
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David Pitman

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