ESTERO, Fla. - Last week, President Obama unveiled plans to make college more affordable for students. The list includes tying financial aid to colleges' performances and capping federal student loan payments at 10% of borrowers' monthly income. When it comes to expensive textbooks, local campuses are also working to make life a little easier for students by allowing them to rent rather than buy.
Senior Nicole Eagleston spent part of her afternoon at FGCU's bookstore, stocking up for the semester. In past years, the visit usually ended with a receipt totaling hundreds of dollars. This year, it was a fraction of the price.
"I rented most of my books," Eagleston said. "They're a lot cheaper and you don't have any hassle. You can just turn them in to the book people."
With Florida's recent graduates facing an average of $23,533 in student loan debt, FGCU and Edison State College are among schools now giving students a chance to chip away at debt before graduation.
"They're getting up to 50% off that book so whether it's used or new, that 50% savings is pretty significant," FGCU's Director of Business Operations Loren Prive said. "Just this fall, we've seen approximately $600,000 in savings on the student level compared to last year as a whole, about $900,000. So, just half a year so far at $600,000. We're obviously doing better."
Prive said about 940 titles, or 58% of their books are rentable. And, they're working with professors to keep that list growing. "The goal is to safe students money," Prive said. "I can only see it growing at this point."
So far this fall semester, FGCU students have purchased more than 16,800 textbooks and rented more than 12,400. With all the costs associated with college, renting is a relief for sophomore Jean Deceus "I thought it was cheaper and the fact that the editions change every year, you're saving a lot," Deceus said.
At the end of the semester, students simply return their rental books to the bookstore. They also have the option to buy the rental for the difference of the rental and purchase price.