USF pilot program working to make textbooks more affordable

By Erin Maloney, Reporter
Last Updated: Saturday, August 29, 2015, 6:18 PM EDT

The University of South Florida is trying to make it easier for students to pay for textbooks.

In fact, a new pilot program is offering an open-access textbook for free.

“What we’re trying to do is put a very innovative, exciting, and stimulating textbook in the hands of students at no cost,” said Todd Chavez, Interim Dean of USF Libraries.

Students will be able to download the book to their iPad or Kindle devices. It will begin in a children’s literature class. But the hope is to make it the norm.

“We’re calling it a pilot now, but our intent is to have many more textbooks moving forward. We just want to drive the cost down as much as we can,” Chavez said.

The news is exciting to freshman Abdulhameed Alqattan, who just spent $400 on books his first semester.

“Textbooks really are a big obstacle when trying to pay for college because even if you ask other freshman, they’ll complain how much they are. They are expensive,” Alqattan said.

The program’s creators hope this will become a model for USF, and eventually move to other college campuses.

The program was a collaborative project between the USF’s Textbook Affordability Project, Innovative Education program, and professor Jenifer Schneider.