If a pilot program at Wright State University was expanded to all of Ohio’s public colleges and universities, it could save students some $300 million a year.
That’s according to the head of Wright State’s Task Force on Affordability and Efficiency, professor Dan Krane.
Krane helped implement the university’s latest cost saving program, called Inclusive Access, which was piloted by 1,000 students taking nine courses at the Dayton campus this year.
Inclusive Access allows WSU and the campus bookstore, which is run by Barnes and Noble, to directly negotiate textbook prices with national publishers on behalf of students, leveraging their collective buying power.
The university then charges the students for the cost of the textbook on their bill for the semester, alongside tuition, fees, and other charges.
While students can opt out of the fee and purchase books on their own, no student opted out of the pilot, said Student Government Association President Daniel Palmer.
“So, [the publishers are] getting 99 percent or, in our case, 100 percent of the market for that book at Wright State University,” he said. “It’s a win-win scenario for the textbook publishers and our students.”
This year, the university anticipated savings of around $50,000 for the initial group of participating students, but doubled that, cutting costs by $102,400 this year.
“It just really sets the trend for universities to pioneer and figure out ways we can make specific aspects of college more affordable,” Palmer added.
In the fall, the university plans to expand the program to 40 courses which would include 6,000 WSU students. Based on the results of the first year, estimated savings for the next round of Inclusive Access students could reach $650,000.