The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Textbook task force to form this month

By Amy Ledig

Plans for making textbooks at Macalester more affordable are moving forward, and Macalester College Student Government hopes to have a task force in place to come up with a timeline for the changes by the end of the month, MCSG Vice President Owen Truesdell said.MCSG and Macalester’s chapter of the Minnesota Public Interest and Research Group have been working to address student outcry over the high prices of textbooks. There are a number of movements afoot, which Truesdell sees as a good thing.

“Having that many ideas out there is phenomenal,” he said.

Among plans under consideration are working with the library to increase the number of copies of books on reserve, working with the bookstore to get new bookstore management software to help track changes in book choice, implementing a possible book rental program, an online list of books for each semester and a scholarship fund to help cover textbooks for a select number of students.

MCSG passed a resolution calling for the administration to produce a book list before the beginning of each semester at the Legislative Board meeting Tuesday. Representatives from MCSG and MPIRG were also at the faculty meeting Tuesday asking professors to be conscious of book prices and to signa pledge to that effect.

Brian Lindeman, director of Financial Aid, has been meeting with MCSG President Alison Tray ’09 since last school year, and has met with MPIRG members this year to discuss making access to books easier. He said that plan for scholarships for textbooks seems doable from a mechanical sense, but finding the money is another issue.

“There is no doubt that demand for this kind of financial aid will exceed supply, as is the case for financial aid across the board. I believe that a textbook scholarship would certainly benefit some of our students, but we would have to be very thoughtful in measuring that benefit against the value of using the same funds for other kinds of financial aid,” Lindeman wrote in an email.

Anxiety about paying for books is an issue that hits home for many Macalester students.

“The concern I hear most often is from students who wish to purchase their books when classes first begin, but do not yet have a ready source of funds at that point in the semester,” Lindeman wrote. “I think this is most often a problem for first-year students who may not be aware of how much their books might cost, and in some cases, who do not realize that books will be an out-of-pocket expense at the beginning of their first semester.”

An MCSG survey found that 30 percent of respondents had difficult purchasing books, and 25 percent said it was a continuous concern. Twenty-eight percent said they had gone up to two weeks without buying their textbooks, and 23 percent said they had opted not to buy a book.

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