college students

9 petitions

Started 1 month ago

Petition to University of Colorado Boulder, Faculty, Professors

Stop forcing college students to buy access code for their homework

I paid thousands of dollars on tuition, why do I need to pay hundreds more to be able to do my homework?  From the New York Times: DIGITAL books and study tools don’t weigh down backpacks as heavy textbooks do. But fees for the codes to get them may be a financial burden for some college students, a new report found. An analysis from the Student Public Interest Research Groups, state-based groups that advocate for causes like affordable textbooks, found that students in many courses may be asked to purchase online educational materials that require one-time digital access codes. The codes are unique serial numbers that give students access to a variety of online materials, like digital books, study guides, homework assignments, quizzes and tests. Sometimes, students must purchase a physical textbook to obtain the necessary code, while in other cases the codes can be bought separately. “They’re the next frontier in the textbook affordability battle,” said Nicole Allen, director of open education at the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition.   The average cost of a stand-alone access code, purchased at a campus bookstore, is about $100, the report found. The cost when bundled with a textbook varies depending on factors like whether the textbook is digital or print, but averaged $126. Across the colleges and majors analyzed, about a third of courses included access codes among the required course materials, the report found. The analysis considered just 10 schools. But the mix of institutions studied — private, four-year colleges and public universities as well as community colleges — offered a snapshot of what students are probably encountering on campus these days, said Ethan Senack, higher education advocate at the Student PIRGs. Textbook costs have long been a sore spot for college students. According to a report in August from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, textbook prices have risen 88 percent over the last decade, significantly more than the increase of 63 percent for tuition and fees over the same period. The College Board estimates that the average student budget for textbooks and supplies at a private, nonprofit, four-year college was $1,249 for the 2015-16 school year. Students have used a variety of strategies to manage costs, Mr. Senack said, like buying used textbooks, sharing a copy with another student, or renting physical or digital textbooks. More recently, a movement has emerged to promote “open source” textbooks, which are available free online. Such steps help explain why data from the National Association of College Stores, a trade group for thousands of campus retailers, show that student spending on books and supplies generally has been flat or declining, even though textbook prices have risen. Average annual student spending on required “course materials” — a category that includes new and used textbooks, access codes and digital books — declined 14 percent to $602 for the 2015-16 academic year, from $701 in 2007-8. (Last year’s spending, however, was an uptick over the average of $563 in 2014-15). The main reason students acquired an access code, the college store association’s research arm said, was that their instructor required it. Richard Hershman, vice president of government relations at the association, said the new report “raises a number of valid concerns around digital.” He said that pricing and distribution models for digital materials were evolving and that student concerns should be taken into account. Faculty typically decide what materials are required, he said, and many instructors see online tools as helpful to students. It may be, he suggested, that they can offer an “opt out” alternative for students who are unable to purchase them. Student advocates say they worry that the proliferation of digital access codes may make it harder for students to use cost-cutting alternatives, like sharing — or even skipping the textbook purchase entirely. The move to unique digital codes essentially rules out sharing, they said, since the codes are usually attached to an individual student account and, once activated, cannot be reused. “For any student who was not paying full price before,” Mr. Senack said, “this is definitely a concern.” Jeanne Ryder, a sophomore at Rutgers University, said she learned about the drawbacks of access codes last year, when she spent hundreds of dollars on a hardcover Italian textbook that was stolen, along with her backpack. The book had come with an online activation code, she said, but it was missing and the publisher told her she would have to buy a new one. She was unable to obtain a new replacement code, even though she had her receipt. She ended up borrowing the book from another student. Here are some questions and answers on college textbooks and access codes:   What if I can’t afford to pay for a digital access code? Ms. Allen suggests discussing your situation with your instructor. Sometimes purchasing the code is merely recommended. But if the teacher requires the code for a class, students may have no option but to buy it if they want to take the course. “They’re pretty stuck,” Mr. Senack said, “and that’s our concern.” The college store association data from 2016 indicate that more than a quarter of faculty at two- and four-year institutions said they would require students to buy access codes in the coming year. Can I buy a used textbook with an access code? In some cases, yes. Some campus stores and online sellers sell used books along with access codes, Mr. Senack said. And sometimes, students who buy a textbook that comes with an access code may not be required to use the online materials, so they may sell the code separately. But when buying from private channels, it’s “buyer beware,” Ms. Allen said, as there is the risk the code may be invalid.  

Anna Blanchard
26 supporters
Started 1 month ago

Petition to New England Institute of Technology, East Greenwich city hall, Rhode Island State House

Keep the Animal Business Management Program Alive at NEIT College!

I am just finishing an Animal Business Management program at the New England Institute of Technology in East Greenwich, RI. I have been going here for about two years now to achieve my associates degree as a future Business manager in the animal field. I am finally in my last quarter and was told that the program is shutting down and will not be offered to college students who would like to attend this program in the future. I find this extremely disappointing, because the value of the program can really benefit those who would like to consider this as a career someday. It offers a vast array of knowledge including the medical and business side of it. The professors who teach the program are real life veterinarians, certified vet technicians, marketers and business directors with years of experience in the field teaching their students a hands-on approach to develop into future leaders. It's important to have this program stay alive in the college because, unlike any other school the students are exposed to multiple facets of what they will actually expect in the field someday. This can include the student running a veterinary practice, owning their own business, working for a pharmaceutical company, getting more exposed to animal laws and changing them, and really so much more. The avenues of having careers in animal business management are endless! In today's world it's important to have a trained animal business manager, not just someone who graduated from a business management program alone without any prior animal knowledge in the field. Now college is expensive enough, why on earth would anyone want to take on two separate technical courses right? I say this because without this program, future students would need to take two separate programs in order to gain the knowledge that i was able to achieve within my two years with an associates degree. The animal business management program was a perfect cross of the two fields mixed. I took this program on because, i was not at all interested in being a certified vet technician. Instead, this program is perfect for every student who wants to run an animal business, work in a veterinary practice, or really anywhere in the field knowing they have learned what it takes to go out and make a real difference in the world.  Please sign my petition today in helping me fight to keep this program alive at the New England Institute of Technology in East Greenwich, RI. I have learned so much and want others to experience how wonderful this program truly is! Thank you for your support today! Sincerely, Erika D. Ps...this program has not been advertised on the radio, newspaper, school newsletter, or television. This needed to change earlier on,  which is why no one has heard much about the program to apply. NEIT is getting rid of the program, not giving it a fair chance!

Erika D.
6 supporters
Update posted 3 months ago

Petition to Ro Khanna, Dianne Feinstein, Virginia Foxx, John Sobrato, Janet Napolitano, Pete Boyle, Rick Williams

Petition for Reduced Tuition

Join the movement on Twitter @changetrain1 This petition is not for the over-entitled who have told me, "It's not my money." This petition is for those of us who give a damn. Do you, like me, have nervous thoughts about whether you can get approved for more loans to finish school? Do you, like me, continuously update and figure out your school payment options with your family? Do you question whether you can take up more minimum-wage work and still have time for school? Did you think about leaving college behind? If so, join The Change Train. Join us as we take action with the Petition for Reduced Tuition. We want college and university administrators to collaborate with their students to reduce tuition costs. We believe that change in this area is not a one-way street; there are actions that both groups can take to reduce tuition and expenses. Below are the individuals that we are petitioning to in order to gain their support in promoting reduced tuition, and to help create collaboration between students and administrations to achieve reduced tuition and expenses. Janet Napolitano (President, University of California) Pete Boyle (VP for Public Affairs, National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities) Rick Williams (Chief Executive Officer, Sobrato Family Foundation) Ro Khanna (Congressman 17th District) Dianne Feinstein (California Senator) Virginia Foxx (Higher Education subcommittee chair) John Sobrato (The Sobrato Organization President, Santa Clara University alum)  

The Change Train
82 supporters