University of North Carolina System Looks to Cut the Cost of College Textbooks

The Carolina Covenant has been successful in making a college education more accessible to low-income students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Under the plan, students from families whose income is under 200 percent of the federal poverty level will have all their financial aid needs taken care of in the form of scholarship grants. Because blacks are a disproportionate share of the low-income population in North Carolina, the Carolina Covenant has been most welcome in the African-American community.

Another large expense that taxes low-income students’ ability to pay for college is books. In recent years the price for college textbooks has risen on average about 6 percent a year or nearly twice the rate of inflation. In North Carolina, the typical college student pays $800 to $1,200 for books.

Now the University of North Carolina is also making college textbooks more affordable. Under the new plan, for large introductory courses, public universities must agree to buy back books at the end of the semester or institute a book rental system. Professors will also face a deadline for assigning course books. This will make it easier for students to seek out used books.