Despite individual financial woes due to COVID-19, the Utica College Bookstore is aiming at helping students and their families to save money by implementing a program that includes the cost of textbooks into the price of tuition.
The All-Access Book Program is UC’s solution to growing stress and anxiety overpaying for textbooks. By paying a fee listed on the tuition bill, all textbooks and supplies will be processed and secured for the students for the semester. Students have the ability to sit back and relax while their books are picked for them.
“The new All Access Program is something that will certainly change the game for not only the students, but for the college as well,” Utica College Bookstore Store Manager Jerry Gallup said. “Our program makes it easier for students when it comes to getting their materials. Simply put, we do it for them.”
Fees are determined by how many credits the student is taking. It is approximately $26 per credit hour. The more classes a student is enrolled in, the higher the fee is. While the fee may have some students questioning their willingness to pay, Gallup ensures that the program is intended to save students money.
“For example, you have a student taking 15 credits, so they would pay $390 for the semester,” Gallup said. “In most cases, the fee students are paying is actually less than what they would pay if they were to get their textbooks individually on their own. So the $390 a student paid could potentially cover a $500 or more bill if the student were not in the program, thus saving them money that they may not have realized.”
According to the College Board, the average textbook cost for college students in the United States was $415.
“It was really great just getting the codes for my textbooks emailed to me,” said Trey Cornish, a junior studying cybersecurity. “It was easier just being able to open my email and accessing the codes from the link. It was also a plus not having to shop in the store and wait in line.”
While the program is only available for undergraduate students, Gallup is hoping to one day make it inclusive for all students attending UC.
“We are working our way through the first year, fixing up some kinks and issues, and then hopefully one day down the line we can open it up to our masters and doctorate students as well.”
Regardless of Gallup’s beliefs about the program, opt-out numbers are growing. Gallup believes that students need to realize that the program is intended to help them financially and relieve any stresses that come with shopping for textbooks.
“I just hope students will see that the pros outweigh the cons with this program before they choose to opt-out,” Gallup said. “If a student were to opt-out, they would have a harder time tracking down books and finding prices cheaper than what we are offering. We pick the books and bag them up or email them to you. How much easier can it get for students?”
Students are advised to keep an eye out for emails containing links to their ebooks. If the books needed did not come in a digital format, students will then need to wait for an email confirming that their order is ready for pick up before they can head to the bookstore. All orders are bundled together and labeled by last name, so a form of ID will be needed in order to pick up the books.
“We have run into some hiccups but we appreciate that students and faculty members are being patient with us,” Gallup said. “We know that this program will bear its benefits. We also know that students are not always keen on change, but we ask that they give it a shot. Their wallets will thank them later.”