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For immediate release — March 16, 2015
(DALLAS) — The Dallas County Community College District is taking steps to help students save money by cutting the cost of textbooks. During a recent meeting of the DCCCD board of trustees, Dr. Joe May, DCCCD’s chancellor, recommended a new textbook contract that eliminated commissions on the sales of textbooks; his recommendation was approved.
DCCCD’s new contract with college textbook company Follett Higher Education Group is a five-year, $1.75 million agreement in which the cost of textbooks no longer includes a commission. All DCCCD students who purchase textbooks will benefit directly when they purchase both new and used books and, on average, will save $600 annually.
“This new bookstore contract is one concrete way in which DCCCD can meet our board of trustees’ strategic priorities that focus on promoting student success and removing barriers to college completion,” said May. “The approval of this bookstore contract is a measurable confirmation that this student-centric decision is one of the first of many visible actions, both in and out of the classroom, that support student success.”
Based on a review of textbook costs in 2014 across the district, a full-time student at one of the seven colleges of DCCCD who took 15 credit hours per semester, over four semesters, paid approximately $1,965 for books, according to John Robertson, the district’s chief financial officer. “This contract will deliver savings to students of approximately $536 to $670. Figures will vary, based on whether a student buys new or used textbooks as well as how many semesters she or he is enrolled.” The percentage decrease in the cost of new textbooks is almost equal to the spring 2015 tuition increase.
In the previous bookstore contract with Follett, the commission earned on textbook sales — which totaled approximately $2 million — was used to fund student clubs, athletics, student travel and awards, and other costs, which DCCCD will continue to fund with other money from the total budget, said Robertson. Under the new Follett contract, all DCCCD students will see cost savings when they buy textbooks.
Follett also provided $50,000 a year in gift cards to help students with money to buy books, and the company also made a one-time $350,000 donation that was shared among the district’s colleges for student loans under the old contract. Students use the loans to buy books, and they sign a promissory note to pay back the money during the semester. As a result, those loans continue to be available; approximately 380 DCCCD students have used the textbooks loan program at the college they attend.
“Spirit” or noninstructional items (college-branded items like T-shirts and hats or regular school supplies, food and books other than textbooks, for example) will include a commission in the price. That commission will be paid to each college and used for student activities as auxiliary revenues.
DCCCD students who want to rent textbooks can continue to do that under the new Follett contract, too. Since the textbook rental program began in the district in 2014, more than 106,000 students have participated, saving an estimated $2.6 million.
The new Follett contract provides other benefits as well:
The contract also provides $50,000 that will support a pilot project to adopt “includED,” a program that bundles tuition and books in a single price; books are ordered automatically for students when they register for classes with the guarantee that those textbooks will be available before the course begins. This program includes both hard copy and digital course materials.
The new Follett contract with DCCCD is effective March 1, 2015, through Feb. 29, 2020.