Did you know that you can search for classes based on textbook costs?

In 2019, the Virginia General Assembly passed a law requiring all public higher education institutions to “identify conspicuously in the online course catalogue or registration system…each course for which the instructor exclusively uses no cost or low-cost course materials” (VA § 23.1-1308).

At VCU, these markings became a reality as attributes on both the search and results pages of Banner, or the VCU Schedule of Classes. “Marking” this information in the schedule of classes allows students to search for or select classes which use affordable course materials. In other words, if you want to select classes based on how much you’ll have to pay for textbooks, now you can do that. We have two markings:

  • No cost materials: $0 for course materials, beyond standard course fees (e.g. lab fee).
  • Low cost materials: the total cost of all course materials is $40 or less. So, a class that has two $25 books would not qualify, but one that has one $40 book would.

The prices are calculated “from the pre-tax price at the university bookstores of the least expensive purchase option—whether new, used or rental—for which the university bookstores are able to obtain sufficient stock for all enrollments” (VCU Textbook Adoptions and Sales Policy). In other words, it’s based on the cheapest option that Barnes and Noble can provide for all students in the class.

If you’re interested searching for classes based on textbook costs or want to see if any classes offer sections with low or no cost textbooks, this video provides an overview or you can read this walkthrough of the process.

Learn more about VCU Libraries’ support for textbook affordability at go.vcu.edu/textbooksavings.

Categories Open and Affordable Course Content