Affordable College Textbook Act Introduced into Congress

Posted November 9th, 2015 in News by Micah Jenkins

November 9, 2015

After finding that the high cost of textbook represents a significant problem for students in higher education, Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Al Franken (D-MN) and Angus King (I-ME), and Representatives Rubén Hinojosa (D-TX) and Jared Polis (D-CO)have introduced the Affordable College Textbook Act (H.R. 3721/S. 2176) into both houses of Congress. The purpose of the act, which was introduced on October 8, 2015,  is to “expand the use of open textbooks in order to achieve savings for students.”

The text of the act states that the cost of new textbooks has increased by 82% between 2002 and 2012, but the use of open educational resources (OERS) in lieu of traditional textbooks could potentially reduce textbook costs by 80-100%.

Under the Affordable College Textbook Act, grants would be awarded to support pilot programs that expand the use of OERS in higher education. In order to receive the grant, faculty members would have to submit a proposal that outlines a plan for promoting and tracking the use of the proposed OER, as well as a plan for promoting the general use of OERS among institutions of higher learning. Special consideration would be given to proposals that have the possibility to achieve the highest level of savings for students, produce OERS that are easily adaptable for use at other institutions, and are created in partnership with other on campus entities, such as college bookstores. A full digital copy of any resources created through the grant would be made freely available to the public.

Read the full text of Affordable College Textbook Act to learn more.

Seeking Proposals for New Open Access Pilot

Posted October 29th, 2015 in Faculty, stories by Micah Jenkins

October 29, 2015

Pilot Summary
For a second consecutive year, the USF Libraries and Innovative Education (InEd) are partnering to invite proposals for the development of an open access e-textbook at the University of South Florida, and seek proposals for their development by USF faculty members. Open access e-textbooks are digital in format and are made freely available over the web in an effort to enhance learning opportunities and support textbook affordability.

Selection Process, Criteria, & Format
A USF faculty member must be the lead author on the proposed e-textbook. The USF Open Access E-textbook Review Committee will review applications and one proposal will be accepted for 2016. The e-textbook selected for support will undergo external peer review and will be reviewed upon its completion by the USF Open Access E-textbook Publication Committee.

The e-textbook may include original multi-media and interactive content. InEd will provide technical support for the development of these features. The USF Libraries will oversee the project; host and archive the e-textbook; deliver the content in the most appropriate formats, including PDF and ePub; support the peer review process; and register the ISBN.

The e-textbook should be a comprehensive work in a specific field of study. Preference will be given to proposals for textbooks meeting one or more of the following criteria. The e-textbook:

  • serves multiple, high-enrollment, and undergraduate courses;
  • supports STEM disciplines;
  • supports a General Education course; and
  • replaces a high cost print textbook.

Copyright will be held by the USF author(s) and will be published under a Creative Commons license (

Compensation Agreements & Requirements
The author(s) will be compensated with an award of $12,500, with an additional $7,500 available to the College to support course buy-out and research support. An itemized budget breakdown for the $7,500 will be required with the application. The award will be based on the quality and strength of application and how well it meets the selection criteria. For funded proposals, a portion of the award will be distributed in the spring 2016 semester and the remaining funds after completion of the project. The author(s) agree to revise as needed during peer-review and to complete 100% of the e-textbook by July 31, 2016.

Relevant Dates
The Call for Proposals will be distributed on October 1, 2015 and proposals are due November 1, 2015. The selected author(s) will be notified by November 20, 2015. The e-textbook will be completed by July 31, 2016 and must be available for use in a USF course by fall 2016.

Proposal Overview

We need to know more about you and your proposed e-textbook. Please submit a proposal that provides all of the information listed in the attached form. Please direct questions to Monica Metz-Wiseman (

Governor Scott Signs Bill Exempting Textbooks from Sales Tax

Posted September 9th, 2015 in News by Micah Jenkins

On June 15, 2015, the Florida Senate passed House Bill 33-A, a tax relief package intended to save Floridians $400 million. Signed by Governor Rick Scott on June 16, 2015, this package includes the removal of sales taxes on college textbooks until June 30, 2016.  The Section 29 of HB33-A defines textbooks as required or recommended print or digital instructional material used in the course of instruction. It also states that taxes “may not be collected on the retail sale of textbooks that are required or recommended for use in a course offered by a public postsecondary educational institution.” The tax exemptions do not extend to instructional materials purchased in theme parks, entertainment complexes, public lodging establishments, or airports.

Learn more about HB33-A, or read HB33-A in its entirety.

USF Bookstore Announces New Price Matching Policy

Posted August 19th, 2015 in News by Micah Jenkins

The USF Campus Bookstore has confirmed that they will be participating in an enhanced price matching program. Starting in the Fall 2015 semester, Barnes & Noble will match competitor pricing for both physical and online bookstores. The price difference will be refunded to a gift card.

Additional details about the Price Match Promise program are as follows:

  • •Price matching will be honored within 7 days of the original purchase date.
  • •The textbook must be in stock and available for immediate shipment at the campus bookstore and the local competitor or online retailer.
  • •The price advertised must be for the exact book/edition offered at the campus bookstore, including all accompanying components such as CDs, online access cards, student manuals or workbooks, etc.
  • •Price matching includes purchase (new and used) and rental pricing. The rental term period must be the same.
  • •The original receipt must be provided, and should show whether or not the textbook was rented or purchased, along with the price.
  • •Digital titles and special orders are excluded.
  • •Price matching applies to same condition items, used book to used book, new book to new book, used rental to used rental and new rental to new rental.

The new price matching policy will not apply to bulk purchases or any purchases made from aggregator sites, peer-to-peer marketplaces, or textbook marketplaces where products or services are provided by multiple third parties, vendors, and shops such as Amazon Marketplace, or chegg.  For additional information, visit the USF Bookstore website.

Senate Bill 938 Aims to Make College More Affordable

Posted April 13th, 2015 in News by Micah Jenkins

State senator Anitere Flores, R-Miami, has officially filed a measured aimed at making post-secondary education in Florida more affordable.

Senate Bill 938 would exempt college textbooks and other instructional material from sales taxes. In order to obtain the tax exemption, students would have to present their student ID number and course syllabus to the textbook vendor.

The bill would also require that public universities list textbooks and other instructional material for at least 90% of courses and course sections to be taught in the upcoming term. This list would be made available to students at least 14 days before the start of class registration, and would have to be featured prominently on both the university website and within the course registration system.

In additional to textbook affordability, the bill also attempts to grant tax exempt status to the purchase of prepaid meal plans and prohibit resident undergraduate, graduate and professional tuition from exceeding a specified amount per credit hour.

To read the bill in its entirety, download the pdf, or visit the Florida State Senate Website