By Jessica Medearis
MSCSA Associate Director
The Minnesota State College Student Association (MSCSA) is launching a statewide campaign to assess the impact recent state and federal legislation has had on textbook accessibility and costs. MSCSA helped draft the Textbook Disclosure, Pricing, and Access Act in 2007 that required certain disclosures by publishers about textbooks, encouraged statewide training on educational strategies around textbook offerings, and required bookstores to provide identifying book information early enough to allow students to bargain shop prior to classes. In 2008, Senator Norm Coleman co-authored federal textbook law as part of the higher education opportunity act, expanding publisher and institutional disclosure requirements around textbooks. Both laws were fully implemented as of the 2010-2011 school year.
The laws were drafted as a cost-containment measure, and to ensure students, faculty, and colleges could make more informed choices about educational materials. As both laws have been in full effect for one academic year, MSCSA leadership is interested in gauging how the law has affected students on Minnesota’s 47 two-year public college campuses. Starting after school resumes in 2012, MSCSA student leaders will work on local campuses to consider how the state and federal laws have assisted students, identify ongoing textbook challenges, and brainstorm future solutions to persistent issues such as textbook costs and available formats. The specifics of the textbook campaign will be outlined at MSCSA’s Student Leadership Conference-December, slated to be held in Granite Falls, Minnesota.
“We truly believe in the potential of current state and federal legislation to provide students with lower textbook costs and greater flexibility in obtaining necessary course materials,” said MSCSA Vice President Darleen Tareeq. “It is our hope that this campaign will illustrate the effect of these vital pieces of legislation on today’s students.”