Ivy Tech Community College students save $9.5 million on textbooks

 INDIANAPOLIS – Ivy Tech Community College and Follett bookstores have helped students save $9.5 million in textbook expenses this last fiscal year, an increase of 219% compared to two years ago.

Ivy Tech partnered with Follett Higher Education Group in 2008, with an eight-year contract for the management of 27 bookstores throughout the statewide community college system. The agreement resulted in renovating various campus bookstores and improving the services and saving opportunities to Ivy Tech students.

Within the last fiscal year, students saved $1.86 million by renting books with the Rent-A-Text program. Rental books save students 50 percent or more off the new book price.  Students also saved a total of $7.5 million through Follett’s used book program.  This amount included used book savings of $3 million, an increase of 121 percent in savings as compared to two years ago.  The used text book program allows students to purchase a used textbook for 25 percent off the price of a new textbook.  In addition, the $7.5 million in savings includes $4.5 million in buyback dollars provided to students, an increase of 187 percent compared to two years ago.  The buyback program allows students to earn money for their unwanted textbooks at terms’ end.  Students saved nearly $100,000 in digital sales as well – leveraging CafeScribe.com.

In 2010, Follett created Rent-A-Text, a program that offers students the convenience of renting in store and online and from a variety of payment options. Students who choose to keep the book have the option to purchase it during the rental period, and books can be returned with normal wear and tear, allowing students to highlight or take notes in the textbook.

“The amount our students are saving on textbooks is very significant,” said Ivy Tech President Thomas J. Snyder.  “Our goal as an institution is to make higher education affordable and possible for everyone. We want to do everything we can to see that students receive the materials they need to succeed without the burden of expensive textbooks. The faculty is committed to putting students first and this is evidenced by the approach taken when selecting textbooks.  Our cost savings successes are a result of the faculty’s dedication to our students.  We only hope to improve and grow this program allowing students to save even more money.”

The original agreement in 2008, included a $6 million signing bonus that would spread over the term of the contract. Follett also committed to providing $1.65 million in capital improvements and $650,000 worth of point of sale equipment deployment. At that time, an estimated savings for students was projected to reach $1.5 million annually through the sale and buyback of used textbooks. Ivy Tech has far exceeded its goal with a savings of $9.5 million this last year. Students reported very high satisfaction and Follett plans to increase rentable textbooks offerings and give more opportunity for savings to Ivy Tech students. 

Ivy Tech Community College is the state’s largest public postsecondary institution and the nation’s largest singly accredited statewide community college system serving nearly 200,000 students annually. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana. It serves as the state’s engine of workforce development, offering affordable degree programs and training that are aligned with the needs of its community along with courses and programs that transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association.

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