Inclusive Access Provides Students Savings, Convenience

The University of Arkansas Bookstore at the corner of Garland Avenue and Douglas Street.
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The University of Arkansas Bookstore at the corner of Garland Avenue and Douglas Street.

A new initiative at the University of Arkansas is tallying six-figure savings for students while driving student success.

This year, the university piloted a digital textbook program, known as inclusive access, with several major publishers, providing students in participating classes their textbook in eBook format on the first day of classes at a significantly reduced cost. In the fall semester, the U of A piloted the program with 266 students, resulting in student savings of $31,913. In the spring, the university expanded the pilot to 3,714 students, resulting in savings of $219,096.

Those savings, combined with the convenience of having the book on the first day of class, makes the initiative a "win-win," according to textbook manager Ricky Carney.

"Sometimes, students may not have the money to buy their books for the first week or two of classes, and this can put students behind in their coursework if they aren't able to complete reading assignments or homework," Carney said. "Inclusive access not only guarantees they'll have those materials by the start of classes but saves them money in the process."

The program, which students can opt out of, is available in classes taught by participating faculty who use textbooks compatible with the service. Students can access the material through Blackboard.

Madelin Davidson, a sophomore from Centerton, participated in inclusive access in an algebra course this spring. She said the service offered her "a good deal that saves hassle for students."

"I don't have to wait for the book to come in. I already have what I need on my computer ready to go," Davidson said. "It was a stress-free experience, and it's really nice to have the option to take advantage of a program like that."

Davidson said she saved around $40 on her algebra textbook through the program.

"To a college student, that's a lot of money," she said.

The university plans to expand the initiative to more faculty in fall 2019 to reach even more students, and while Carney noted that some classes lend themselves to the service more than others, he still sees the technology as having widespread benefit for students.

"This is a great example of our bookstore, our faculty and our textbook publishers collaborating to help our students," Carney said. "We see this program continuing to have tremendous advantages for our students and our campus community."

"The U of A recognizes college affordability and student success are cornerstones to our mission as the flagship university for Arkansas," said Jim Coleman, provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs. "Inclusive access helps students on both fronts. We are excited to be involved in this program and look forward to seeing its expansion next school year."

Contacts

John Post, director of academic communications
University Relations
479-575-2151, johnpost@uark.edu

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