University of Missouri

46-65: A Resolution in Favor of Establishing Policies Regarding Required Course Materials

PURPOSE: To support the establishment of university policies regarding the selection of textbooks and the method by which they are made available, which will result in significant savings to students.

WHEREAS, departments have been receiving financial compensation from publishers in return for requiring bundled materials for courses, which are more expensive, seldom used, and cannot be returned by students, and

WHEREAS, the General Accounting Office found that textbook prices are increasing at more than four times the inflation rate for all finished goods and,

WHEREAS, wholesale prices charged by textbook publishers have jumped 62% since 1994, while prices charged for all finished goods increased only 14%, and

WHEREAS, faculty play a critical role in helping to reduce the cost of educational materials for their students, and

WHEREAS, the most immediate way that faculty can reduce the cost of educational materials is by submitting textbook orders in a timely manner, and

WHEREAS, a number of departments have been receiving financial compensation from publishers by selling materials to students at profit by the department, and

THEREFORE, the Graduate and Professional Council (GPC) and the Missouri Students Association (MSA) recommend establishing a policy that faculty and departments may not receive compensation from entities in exchange for requiring specific course materials for a course, and

THEREFORE, departments will motivate faculty to submit course material information to the bookstore on time, enabling the bookstore to buy back those materials from students and sell them used to others, and

THEREFORE, the GPC and MSA ask that faculty consider unbundled course materials. Additional materials, such as CD-ROMs, study guides, etc.—can significantly increase the cost for students. Bundles with non-required materials force students to purchase new textbooks at premium prices, while bundled materials often go unused, and

THEREFORE, the GPC and MSA encourage faculty to consider using course packets which can result in significant cost savings when only a small percentage of the original text is required, or when small portions of several texts can be combined into one, and

THEREFORE, the GPC and MSA recommend establishing a campus policy that faculty and departments may not receive any form of compensation from any entity in exchange for requiring specific course materials for a course, and

THERFORE, the GPC and MSA encourage the university to develop a “Publisher Code of Ethics” requiring publisher representatives to communicate information about the history of edition revisions, the suggested retail costs for textbooks and the additional costs of supplemental materials, and

THEREFORE, the GPC and MSA encourage the University of Missouri Bookstore to negotiate lower prices from publishers of course materials by utilizing its buying power of $22 million in annual purchases, and

THEREFORE, the GPC and MSA encourage the University Bookstore to use all means possible to educate the faculty and departments about textbook pricing and savings strategies, and

THEREFORE, the DSS shall be responsible for ensuring these actions take place and assisting the Bookstore in anyway possible

THEREFORE, the GPC and MSA encourage the University Bookstore to continue offering programs that make used textbooks easily accessible to students, including expanding buyback programs to include textbooks used annually, as well as explore a UM Intercampus Buyback Program.

Respectfully submitted,

Daniel A. Permuter James Kelley Rachel Anderson
MSA MSA MSA
Academic Affairs Committee Academic Affairs Committee President
Vice Chairman Chairman

Jennifer Holland Erica Racen Eva Sutton
GPC President GPC Vice President GPC Treasurer

Maggie Schlarman David Swainy Carly Duvall
GPC Secretary GPC National Issues Coordinator GPC Programming and Publicity