MTSU— The IncludED Program at Middle Tennessee State University includes the price of the required textbooks if students are enrolled in the courses that participate in the program.
At the beginning of each semester, students begin renting or purchasing textbooks; weighing their options to find the lowest price. Students often look to Amazon, Chegg, Ebay, or Textbook Brokers to find deals on the sometimes expensive textbooks they need for class.
But, MTSU has started offering the IncludED Pilot Program, which means that the classes participating in the program have an additional fee tacked on that is the price of their textbook. If a student is enrolled in an IncludED course, there is no ‘opt-out’ option with the purchase of the book.
The program has not been offered in all classes, but has been implemented to some Astronomy courses, Physical Science courses, and all of the University Seminar sections.
The manager of Phillips Bookstore on MTSU’s campus, Jeff Whitwell, believes that the program could benefit students in a positive way.
“They can have the merchandise on or around the first day of class,” Whitwell explained. “[Students] won’t have to wait for a financial aid check in a few weeks or just trying to weigh whether they real can afford [the textbook] or not.”
However, the manager of Textbook Brokers, Robert Batcheller does not feel the same way, and believes that the IncludED Program eliminates the choice that students have when buying textbooks.
“If the [IncludED] Program was rolled out entirely, there would be additional fees for each and every class and for each and every student that you would have no choice whatsoever,” Batcheller stated. “When you remove the choice for a student, you raise the fees, you raise the cost for the student.”
MTSU student Kelsey Massey expressed that she would not participate in the program because she feels that she would save more money shopping around for the cheapest prices on books.
Whitwell shared that the books offered through the IncludED program come at a reduced rate, but the prices that are listed have been negotiated down from the price the book would be if purchased new. The students who choose to rent used books rather than buy a new one will likely be paying more for their textbook if they are enrolled in a course that is participating in the program.
The book offered in all sections of the University Seminar course is $63 for a digital copy, but other competitors offer the book for much cheaper as rentals. The book is offered for $32.99 as a rental through Follett, which is the provider for the textbook, at their website.
Surveys will be given to the students who participated in the program this semester so that the effectiveness can properly be evaluated.
The IncludED program will extend into the spring semester at MTSU, but what happens with the program after that semester will be discussed at a Tennessee Board of Regents meeting in February.
Below is a chart comparing prices of the textbooks offered through the program with other competitors: