Bowdoin College is collaborating with online textbook rental and purchase service Chegg to reduce the burden of textbook costs for students.
On average, buying print textbooks costs $450 per semester and over $3,600 for a four year course of study. The pilot program starts this fall and aims to help students save money by replacing the physical bookstore with Chegg’s online service.
With more than 50% of Bowdoin’s students receiving financial aid to manage their annual tuition, according to last year’s statistics, the switch will offer some relief to students. Bowdoin College spokesman Doug Cook said:
“Students everywhere, including those here at Bowdoin, are looking to lower the cost they are paying for textbooks. In an effort to help make books more affordable, we decided to partner with an online vendor for a pilot program to begin in the fall.”
During the pilot program students can purchase new and used textbooks at reduced prices. Most textbook orders feature free three-day shipping. Students will also get free seven-day ebook access for many titles as well as free shipping for rental returns. Students can purchase their books up to a month before courses begin and throughout a course’s duration.
It is estimated that students will be spending 20 percent less on textbooks thanks to the partnership. Cook explains:
“For example we just had a faculty member select a new chemistry text that would have cost students more than $250 to purchase new, but they will be able to rent the text from Chegg, for an entire semester, for $63.99,”.
Carl Straumsheim of Inside Higher Ed reports that the college won’t benefit financially from the switch, with only students reaping savings. The observation comes from S. Catherine Longley, Bowdoin Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration.
Chegg CEO Dan Rosensweig said in a press release:
“Chegg has made a business out of putting students first, and we were honored to learn that Bowdoin chose Chegg as their official textbook partner.”
A Bowdoin website developed by Chegg will allow students to order their semester textbooks and collect them from a pop-up Chegg store on campus. Chegg will be able to offer up to 90% of the book titles students need and the rest will be provided by the college.
Many bigger colleges have opted for online student textbook services as physical bookstores are no longer as popular and cost students more than cheaper online options.
Amazon Campus Program, an online textbook service by Amazon, is used by Purdue University, the University of California at Davis and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst as a more cost-efficient alternative to brick and mortar campus bookstores.
Bowdoin will use the empty bookstore facility to create a new IT space for students.