In the Fall of 2018 Garden City Community College adopted a Cengage Unlimited textbook model, providing an online textbook subscription for every GCCC student. The new model added a resource fee of $8 per credit hour to the tuition and fees structure for the cost of attendance, but has saved students an estimated $780,000 on textbook costs since its inception.
Since Fall of 2018, GCCC students have taken 65,399 credit hours, spending only $523,192 on the Cengage Unlimited resource. By comparison, under the previous system, the student body would have spent $1.3 million on textbooks and supplies for the same number of credits. Over $780,000 in savings overall accounts for a 60% savings to students.
Prior to the adoption of the Cengage model, students were advised to expect to pay up to $600 per year on textbooks and supplies at GCCC, based on a 30 credit-hour year. Under the new model, students pay only $240 for the new Cengage Unlimited model with the same number of credit hours.
Rebekah Hutchinson is a student member of the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) organization on campus, and she has seen the cost benefit affecting some of her peers.
“It is especially beneficial for those students who have never received a books and tuition scholarship from one of our student groups before,” said Hutchinson. “They are the students who are really seeing the most savings, and that’s great for them.”
Student saving is further reinforced at the Broncbuster Bookstore, where the bookstore staff have reported a reduction in textbook sales of about $530,000 since the Fall of 2018. Students who prefer to have a physical copy of the online textbooks still have options through the bookstore. For an $8 shipping fee, the Broncbuster Bookstore will order physical textbooks for any available titles from Cengage, which the student can rent for no additional charge.
Dr. Ryan Ruda, President of GCCC, explains the process by which the decision to adopt the resource was made. “We brought on our chairs from the different departments, but we also started having conversations with our student government and our student organizations,” he told Education Dive, an online publication covering higher education news.
Staff members at GCCC are seeing more than just the cost benefits to students as well, with academics also being positively affected. GCCC Director of Financial Aid Melinda Harrington said that she feels the decision to use Cengage Unlimited was one of the best decisions the college has made for both the affordability of textbooks and student success.
“The cost of textbooks is often a hindrance to student success in the first several weeks of the semester because some students are not financially blessed enough to purchase textbooks on their own and often they are forced to wait for the financial aid disbursement date to purchase their textbooks,” she said. “Now, students have access to textbooks on the first day of classes, and they are not using as much of their Pell grant and loans for the cost of textbooks.”
For more information about the Cengage Unlimited subscriptions that each GCCC student receives, contact Virga West, GCCC Bookstore Manager, at 620-276-9790.