Rising textbook cost is often a roadblock for potential college students.
Officials at Northeast Mississippi Community College believe they have a solution.
Currently, 100 percent of the textbooks sold in the Northeast Bookstore cost less than $150 and 50 percent of them are free as part of the college’s oNE iPad initiative.
According to Northeast vice president of instruction Dr. Michelle Baragona, reaching this milestone is a big step in the college’s commitment to making textbooks affordable, equitable and relevant for today’s student.
“In the past, students were paying $300 or more for a single textbook,” Baragona explained.
“With our oNE iPad initiative, we have been able to leverage the technology to lower the textbook costs to students by an average of 71 percent per book. By adopting the inclusive access model for digital textbooks, we have been able to remove this barrier for students and provide them with needed course materials on the first class day.”
Last month, Northeast officials announced that beginning this fall approximately 90 percent of all textbooks at Northeast would be available digitally and every student attending the college would have access to purchase the latest iPad through the school as part of the initiative to create a campus-wide “technological experience.”
While the student will be responsible for the purchase of the iPad, the cost may be applied to various sources of approved financial aid and will be more than absorbed by the savings. In some cases, the cost of the iPad would equal the cost of one traditional printed textbook.
Northeast is the first community college in the country to launch such an endeavor to make a college education accessible to more students.
“In iPad pilot programs, we have seen student success increase,” Baragona continued.
“In College Algebra, iPad required sections saw a 12 percent increase in A’s, B’s, and C’s. In General Psychology, digital textbooks contributed to a nine percent increase in student retention.
“For the faculty, the incorporation of the iPad and digital textbooks has transformed the classroom experience. I am very proud of our faculty and staff for all their hard work to improve student success.”
As for the current spring 2018 semester at Northeast, Baragona estimated the average cost of textbooks per class at $43.24. This fall the average cost per class is projected at $35.25.
Northeast Mississippi Community College natural science instructor Carlena Benjamin (center) goes over stop-motion video with three students during the 2018 spring semester at the college