USF Policies and Regulations

USF policy USF3.029, adopted from the Florida Statutes 1004.085, articulates the University’s dedication to managing the escalation of textbook and instructional material costs. Policy USF3.029 states that:

  • Professors must post course textbooks at least 45 days before the start of the semester to give students ample time to shop around for the lowest price.
  • Textbook order forms require a statement from the professor saying how the newest edition is different from the previous edition and that professor plans to use all the bundled materials.
  • Textbook list shall include title, author, edition, ISBN, copyright and publication dates and any other information to make the text easily identifiable so students can shop for best value
  • Students may use their financial aid to purchase textbooks. Students with confirmed financial aid eligibility may opt into the advance purchase program to buy textbooks and instructional materials from the bookstore prior to receipt of their financial aid distribution.
  • No USF employee may receive any money in exchange for requiring a textbook. However, if the professor is the author, royalty payments may be received.

Click here » to read the USF policy.

Section 1004.085, Florida Statutes, Textbook Affordability

  1. No employee of a community college or state university may demand or receive any payment, loan, subscription, advance, deposit of money, service, or anything of value, present or promised, in exchange for requiring students to purchase a specific textbook for coursework or instruction.
  2. An employee may receive:
    • Sample copies, instructor copies, or instructional materials. These materials may not be sold for any type of compensation if they are specifically marked as free samples not for resale.
    • Royalties or other compensation from sales of textbooks that include the instructor’s own writing or work.
    • Honoraria for academic peer review of course materials.
    • Fees associated with activities such as reviewing, critiquing, or preparing support materials for textbooks pursuant to guidelines adopted by the State Board of Education or the Board of Governors.
    • Training in the use of course materials and learning technologies.
  3. Community colleges and state universities shall post on their websites, as early as is feasible, but not less than 45 days prior to the first day of class for each term, a list of each textbook required for each course offered at the institution during the upcoming term. The posted list must include the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) for each required textbook or other identifying information, which must include, at a minimum, all of the following: the title, all authors listed, publishers, edition number, copyright date, published date, and other relevant information necessary to identify the specific textbook or textbooks required for each course. The State Board of Education and the Board of Governors shall include in the policies, procedures, and guidelines adopted under subsection (4) certain limited exceptions to this notification requirement for classes added after the notification deadline.
  4. After receiving input from students, faculty, bookstores, and publishers, the State Board of Education and the Board of Governors each shall adopt textbook and instructional materials affordability policies, procedures, and guidelines for implementation by Florida College System institutions and state universities, respectively, that further efforts to minimize the cost of textbooks and instructional materials for students attending such institutions while maintaining the quality of education and academic freedom. The policies, procedures, and guidelines shall address:
    • The establishment of deadlines for an instructor or department to notify the bookstore of required and recommended textbooks and instructional materials so that the bookstore may verify availability, source lower cost options when practicable, explore alternatives with faculty when academically appropriate, and maximize the availability of used textbooks and instructional materials.
    • Confirmation by the course instructor or academic department offering the course, before the textbook or instructional materials adoption is finalized, of the intent to use all items ordered, particularly each individual item sold as part of a bundled package.
    • That a course instructor or the academic department offering the course determines, before a textbook is adopted, the extent to which a new edition differs significantly and substantively from earlier versions and the value of changing to a new edition.
    • Selection of textbooks and instructional materials through cost-benefit analyses that enable students to obtain the highest-quality product at the lowest available price.

Click here » to read the statute in its entirety

Rule 6A-14.092, Textbook Affordability

Pursuant to Section 1004.085, F.S., institutions within the Florida College System shall:

  1. Adopt textbooks no later than forty-five (45) days prior to the first day of classes to allow sufficient lead time to bookstores to work with publishers so as to confirm availability of the requested materials and to ensure maximum availability of used books. Where courses are added after this forty-five (45) day deadline, textbooks for such courses shall be adopted as soon as is feasible to ensure sufficient lead time.
  2. Pursuant to Section 1004.085(3), F.S., for those classes added after the forty-five (45) day notification deadline, institutions shall post textbook information on their websites immediately as such information becomes available.
  3. Collect and maintain, before textbook adoption is finalized, written or electronically transmitted certifications from course instructors attesting:
    • That all textbooks and other instructional items ordered will be used, particularly each individual item sold as part of a bundled package, and
    • The extent to which a new edition differs significantly and substantively from earlier versions, and the value of changing to a new edition.
  4. Provide assistance as requested by the statewide textbook affordability workgroup established by the Department of Education to recommend policies and strategies that address the availability of required textbooks to students otherwise unable to afford the cost. The workgroup shall consist of nine representatives from institutions within the Florida College System chosen based on variable student enrollment (small and large student populations), geographic location (north, central and south) and economic status of student body (high population receiving need-based financial aid). A report shall be submitted by the workgroup to the State Board of Education by December 1, 2009, that identifies the policies.

Specific Authority 1004.085(3), (4) FS. Law Implemented 1004.085 FS. History–New 2-25-09.

Federal Laws

The Higher Education Opportunity Act – signed in August 2008 by President Bush

The purpose of this section is to ensure that students have access to affordable course materials by decreasing costs to students and enhancing transparency and disclosure with respect to the selection, purchase, sale, and use of course materials. It is the intent of this section to encourage all of the involved parties, including faculty, students, administrators, institutions of higher education, bookstores, distributors, and publishers, to work together to identify ways to decrease the cost of college textbooks and supplemental materials for students while supporting the academic freedom of faculty members to select high quality course materials for students. The law took effect July 1, 2010.

Click here » to read the full text of the law.