February 14, 2018 Melissa Lamar

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Tunxis Community College students saved $414,906 on textbooks over the past year through several initiatives aimed at continuing to help make textbooks and course materials as affordable as possible for students.

Tunxis Bookstore’s David Truckenbrodt is shown at right helping TCC students with purchases.

Starting in July, Tunxis Bookstore, managed by Follett Higher Education Group, began offering students a 10 percent discount on the list price of new textbooks as part of a new contract that was negotiated with Follett and the 12 Connecticut Community Colleges. In a five-month period, Tunxis students saved $39,272 on new book purchases through this effort alone.

Of the total, another $375,634 in savings was the result of giving Tunxis students multiple options on books and materials—price match, textbook rentals, digital, used books, and the buyback program.

“We remain committed to affordability and providing information and resources that help our students overcome financial barriers to student success, and will continue to look for ways to address this important issue,” said Dr. James Lombella, President of Asnuntuck Community College and Interim President of Tunxis Community College.

A Textbook Committee which includes Tunxis faculty, staff and bookstore employees has met regularly since 2006 to discuss ways the college can make textbooks more affordable and accessible to students. The committee develops and reviews policies to disburse textbook scholarships to students, awarding an average of $4,000 a semester in textbook scholarships to students through funds it receives from Follett’s net book revenue. As of September 2017, Tunxis has awarded $121,956 in textbook scholarships to credit and non-credit students. Tunxis Library also receives an allotment each semester to purchase high-cost textbooks to put on reserve.

TCC faculty work closely with Follett to ensure timely adoption of books, leading to maximum savings for students. They also take an active role in considering which materials are necessary for their courses, in some cases migrating to digital formats when appropriate, or using open education resources (OER). Faculty have formed a “Going Open” Committee at the college led by faculty, administrators, and librarians to further OER awareness. As part of the new contract, Follett will actively support the adoption of open education resources and will supply OER textbooks and other course materials at the lowest cost or no cost to students.

The college’s initiatives are aligned with the CT State Colleges & Universities (CSCU). CSCU’s Bookstore Committee, comprised of campus and system administrators as well as a student representative, oversees the administration of the systemwide Follett contract. The committee meets with Follett to manage the contract and further develop strategies to ensure students have access to affordable textbooks and course materials.

Located in Farmington, Tunxis Community College serves over 7,000 credit and 5,000 non-credit students each year. The college offers over 60 associate degrees and certificates, providing critical thinking and problem-solving skills that prepare students for transfer to bachelor’s degree programs and employment in areas with industry need. Visit Tunxis online at tunxis.edu.