Students booking flights for spring break are familiar with Southwest Airlines’ “bags fly free” program to eliminate unexpected fees to their customers. Starting this fall, Trevecca’s bookstore will implement a similar strategy for students.
Student Government voted Monday night for textbooks to be included in tuition.
Trevecca’s bookstore was outsourced to Tree of Life, a Christian bookstore company based out of Marion, Ind. in June of last year. The new company brought cheaper textbooks that could be rented and charged to students’ accounts, along with new brands and colors of clothing, including more purple.
But more changes are in store for Trevecca’s bookstore.
The next step is “books fly free,” a new option that was presented by Darren Campbell, Tree of Life’s chief executive officer, to Trevecca’s Student Government Association’s general meeting on Feb. 6.
“Books fly free” will work a textbook fee into tuition. Books are rentals and will be delivered to students on-campus dorms and apartments.
“It would show up as a book fee on your account, it would qualify for financial aid…and you never would have to come to the bookstore. It would be automatic,” Campbell said.
While Tree of Life executives were touting benefits of the program to student leaders, some students are not convinced.
A group of about 90 students have a Facebook page to oppose the idea that they say gives them less choice and costs them more money.
Tree of Life’s proposal for a flat fee will eliminate the unknown cost of books to students because every student—no matter classification or major—will pay $22.50 per credit hour, or $337.50 per semester if students were taking 15 credit hours, Campbell said.
Textbooks will be delivered to student’s rooms before classes start. Students will receive every book, as a rental, that professor’s request for $22.50 per credit hour. Students will then return their books to the bookstore at the end of the semester.
However, students also have the opportunity to buy their books at the end of the semester for a reduced rate.
“Any book that (a student) wanted to keep, he would just not return it at the end of the semester and then we would automatically bill him (the replacement cost),” Campbell said.
The replacement cost is about half of the cost of the book, Campbell said.
Current upperclassmen will have the option to opt out of the textbook fee.
Current sophomores, juniors and seniors can choose to buy their books on their own or participate in “books fly free.” But after those students graduate the book fee will be mandatory.
“The cost for each student is lower because it is a campus-wide program,” Campbell said.
Greenville College in Greenville, Illinois was the first to implement a textbook fee.
Reed Lape, Greenville College’s student body president, said in an email that there are students who like and dislike their new policy.
“There are students who are in support of the new policy as well as students who would prefer to opt out. Some students have claimed that they would never spend the amount of money charged by Tree of Life to purchase textbooks while others have witnessed great savings. However, no student is wanting for books now, and neither do students have to locate and/or purchase the books themselves,” Lape wrote.
Trevecca’s SGA members had mixed feelings on the new policy.
For some students, such as nursing majors, this flat rate fee would save them money; however, for other students, such as physical education majors, the built-in fee may cost them more.
“From a Christian perspective, people are paying for less to help people that have to pay more. I don’t think there’s anything more beautiful than that,” said Todd Osborne, senior class president.
Students’ agreed that they liked knowing how much books would cost each semester.
Multiple Trevecca professors said they are in favor of the new policy because this way all students will have their own textbook in their class.
“I love the idea of students having books for the first day of class,” said Lena Welch, dean of the school of arts and sciences.
“Textbook Dilemma” is the Facebook group where students are voicing their concern about the new proposal.
Freshmen Amberlin Artz and Jenna Daughtry created the group on Feb. 7.
They created the page to convince students to talk to SGA representatives, who will untimely make the decision, Artz said.
While having books the first day of class and having them delivered to students’ room is convenient, many students said it will cost them more money.
Students will no longer be able to share books, to save money, and some students said it would cost even more money in the long run if they choose to keep their books.
“I would rather buy my books online to keep or to re-sell if I don’t think I’ll need them in the future,” Kerri Carden, sophomore, said. “The proposal robs students of making a choice in whether to buy to keep, buy to re-sell, borrow or possibly not even buy the book at all. It increases cost when it’s not necessary.”
SGA voted and administration will implement their decision, said Riley Wampler, student body president.
The majority of SGA members said in a few years students will love the decision.
“When this happens people will love it, Preston Hunt, senior class vice president.