A day in the life of a college student: Books – The Oracle

Hamline operates using a book rental program that is a part of tuition, a topic of conversations between students of different disciplines.
Sena Ross
Anika Besst, News Editor

Part of any college student’s experience is renting books. 
Depending on a student’s major or minor they could have a range of books. There are stories of students needing as few as two to as many as 16 books per semester. 
Hamline operates with a book rental program, called the  includED® Rental Program,  meaning that the books students need for classes are included in their tuition. The price of this book rental program is currently $345 per semester, with J-term and May term being $65. 
“[It is] a convenient and affordable new textbook rental program that provides all your required course materials, rented to you as part of your tuition or fees,” the Hamline website said. “This enables you to know the full cost of your class upfront with no surprises about additional out of pocket costs for required course materials.”
The book rental program is run through a company called Follett Corporation that is contracted outside of the institution. Follett specializes in educational materials.  Shari Salzman-Hankins is the Hamline bookstore manager and has worked there since 2018. 
Hamline is the only of the five Associated Colleges of the Twin Cities (ACTC) schools in the area to have a Follett campus store. Hamline University and Mitchell  Hamline are two of five Follett stores in MN. 
“I think it’s 100% beneficial for students because all students are on the same playing field on day one. They all have access to the materials, and that way you don’t have students showing up to class two to three, four weeks and never even buying the book,” Salzman-Hankins said.
The bookstore receives information about students’ registration and they then prepare the materials required for the class and have them ready for the time the semester begins. 
Many students of every year appreciate Hamline offering this as it takes a weight off their shoulders when they begin the year. 
“I’m very appreciative of the fact that I don’t have to worry about tracking down all my textbooks, especially since in STEM books are notoriously expensive and frequently the version matters,” senior biochemistry major Kylie Ross said.
Some students debate whether the book rental program has been worth it as they recognize their books are not as difficult to acquire and do not always add up to $345.
“I don’t think that it has been economical for me. This semester I only have two books. One of them is online and barely used, the other I use quite often but I looked it up and found that I could have rented it from a different source for way less. So instead of paying $345 I could have been paying $30 for the same information,” senior Donald Birtten wrote in an email. “There are books that I had for classes in the past that I enjoyed and would not have minded paying for a personal copy (and it still probably would have been cheaper). I do not think in all 4 years here that I have had a semester where all my books totaled up to $345.” 
On the Hamline bookstore website there is a form for students who are interested in other options. Hamline University has decided not to be an opt-out institution meaning students are automatically in the book rental program, with those interested in appealing to opt out being handled on a case by case basis. 
For more information on this program, visit: https://tinyurl.com/s2t4w9j4
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