Higher Education Community Holds Textbook Affordability Summit
College Park, MD (November 24, 2008) — Over the past two decades, textbook costs have risen over twice the rate of inflation and now account for 25 to 35 percent of the cost of attendance at a community college. To understand the complexities involved in the textbook industry and to explore ways to curtail spiraling cost increases, Maryland’s higher education community sponsored today's Textbook Affordability Summit held at the Stamp Student Union in College Park. Approximately 150 administrators, faculty members, and students attended from across the state to hear from experts representing different segments of the textbook selection process.
Ideas to address the rising cost of textbooks included faculty awareness initiatives, e-books and rental programs. Marcy Gannon, General Manager of the Bookstore at the College of Southern Maryland presented a pilot program on Textbook Rentals.
The Summit was moderated by David Nevins, Chair of the Board of Regents for the University System of Maryland. Mr. Nevis opened his remarks by stating that this is not just a Maryland issue, but an issue for parents and students across the nation. The problem is multifaceted and involves publishers, books stores, campus administrators, faculty and students.
Congress has addressed a number of issues regarding textbooks in the recent Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. Andy Clark, Director of Legislative Affairs at the University System of Maryland, outlined the provisions of the federal legislation affecting textbooks.
Several controversial bills were introduced in the Maryland General Assembly’s last Session in an attempt to address the problem. Remarks from Senators Paul Pinsky and Jim Rosapepe and Delegate Craig Rice concluded that the Maryland legislature will be addressing the textbook issue again in the upcoming 2009 Session.