College may be a good investment, but what if you can’t afford it? A joint meeting of the Illinois House and Senate Higher Education Committees listened to students, school officials, and Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon. “Eastern Illinois and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville have campus-wide textbook rental programs,” Simon said, citing one way to lower the cost of textbooks.
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“You pay your rental fee based on the number of hours that you’re taking that semester. It’s built into your bill in the beginning of the semester so you know what it is. You can borrow against it. You can plan for it,” Simon said. Dan Nadler, vice president for student affairs at Eastern Illinois University, says the textbook program is working well. “According to the College Board in 2012, the average cost of books ranges from $850 to $1,000 on an annual basis. We estimate that our students save approximately $700 annually or more, and $3,000 during the course of attaining a college education,” Nadler said. Nadler says it cost EIU $3.5 million to set up the program, with student fees covering that cost.