As a UD Bookstore employee both this summer and now, I have had the opportunity to work behind the scenes of the new textbook scholarship program and feel that I have the scoop more than most students do.
I can completely understand the viewpoint of Steve Maloney in his article “Much-lauded book scholarship program leaves upperclassmen out in the cold” of the Friday, Aug. 24 issue of Flyer News. When I first heard about the new program, I felt the same way. I think that the arguments and ideas he presented are great, and I can personally appreciate his open-mindedness about the issue. I agree that it definitely would not be feasible to suddenly give everyone money for books, but I want to console upperclassmen with the idea that you aren’t being left out as much as you think.
Here is what I have been told:
Every student who filed the FAFSA and took an official campus tour by March 1 in the past has received money as part of their financial aid or had the amount taken off their bill. It was not identified as separate from other financial aid for tuition, so nobody really knew they were getting it. Enrollment Management created and funded the new textbook scholarship program, and that money is simply being designated for textbooks now.
Kathy Harmon, who works for Enrollment Management at the university, said, “We have in the past made additional scholarships of which students were not always aware, such as the continuing student grant. Also, we have partnered with external scholarship sponsors and UD benefactors to help our students gain scholarships in ways of which many students are unaware.”
She would be happy to talk with any student who has questions about how the university helps students and families through scholarships and grant funding or to clear up any misconceptions about the new textbook scholarship. She also hopes to host a forum for students about the issue sometime this semester.
As Maloney pointed out, the textbook scholarship is a useful marketing tool. It sounds great to potential parents and students. Come to UD and, with a few easy steps, your son or daughter will receive free textbooks! The Bookstore is glad to help with this initiative, being the ones with the textbooks and all. There are still kinks to be worked out, so freshmen please give us a break, and if you or your parents were frustrated at any point, we’re doing our best and will try to make things more clear and easy in the future.
Speaking as a student employee, we would also recommend to the freshmen that they call us themselves if they have questions, whether their parents are paying for their books or not. It looks silly when parents call; you’re old enough now to be able to do things yourself. And for upperclassmen, if you still feel concerned that something going on isn’t fair, follow up with financial aid to find out more or to make a complaint. You could even start a petition for Maloney’s evaluation system. I know I would support it!
Meanwhile, the Bookstore promises to do everything it can to meet all students’ needs. There is a new rental program for over 1200 titles, price comparison tools are offered through the Bookstore’s website, prices were dropped on 700 titles this semester alone, and students are provided with more than $800,000 every year through buybacks!
Hopefully everyone has a wonderful semester full of the knowledge gained from those textbooks … or something like that!