University in talks over program to provide students with affordable course materials


Keator Poleman
Digital Editor

Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Greg Handel and Assistant to the Provost for Academic Support and Auxiliary Services Jennifer Kelly discussed proposals to replace the IncludEd program at Monday’s meeting.

IncludED is a partnership with Northwestern State University and the NSU Campus Store to provide textbooks at a reduced cost to students.

Handel and Kelly said they have recently discussed plans with Follett to create a flat-rate system to purchase required course materials instead of just textbooks and e-books.

Currently, textbook fees are determined by the courses a student takes. Under Follett’s proposal, Follett Access, students will pay $25 per credit hour, Handel said. The fee covers all related course materials such as lab coats and calculators.

Other materials such as scrubs and tap shoes are also under consideration for being added under the fee, Kelly said. She said iPads will not be included in the fee during the first year of the program.

Handel said the proposal is “all or nothing.” Students cannot opt-out of the program for individual classes like with IncludED. The opt-out option is available each semester. Likewise, he said even students with no required textbook are required to pay.

No decision has been made as of yet, Handel said. He said it is important for the university to get students their course materials for the first day of classes. Kelly said they are looking at different programs to determine what course materials should be added under the program.

A degree program under the proposal will be about $3,000 over a student’s academic career, Kelly said. The program allows students to budget and determine which semester they may need to use Follett Access.

Kelly and Handel said the proposal might encourage professors to use more up-to-date materials for their classes as the price for students will still be the same. The university is looking for feedback from the student body as talks continue, the speakers said. Kelly and Handel said a decision will be reached in time for Freshman Connection.

In other reports, Student Government Association announced it will have a speaker for this year’s Black History Month. Hollis Conway, father of Miss Louisiana 2018 Holli Conway, will speak in the President’s Room in the Friedman Student Union Wednesday at 7 p.m.

For reports, Student Body President Jacob Ellis said the University of Louisiana System is hosting its academic summit at the university in April.

SGA will host a “cradle to prison pipeline” school supply drive until the conference, Ellis said.
The association is hosting a mayoral forum and voter registration event on March 12. The date is tentative as there may be scheduling conflicts with the Natchitoches Chamber of Commerce.

Vice President Cherish Wilson said they will meet this Thursday to discuss applications for the Organizational Relief Fund.

Treasurer and Fiscal Affairs Commissioner Elizabeth Coleman gave the updated budget:
• SGA budget is $45,492.88
• Speaker of the Senate’s budget is $59,787
• ORF is $24,450

External Affairs Commissioner Tyler Magnano and Student Affairs Commissioner Kristen Prejean are still working on the Demon Discount program. They say the program will be available soon.

Prejean said she is meeting with Wellness, Recreation, Activity, Center officials soon to discuss their operating hours.

Magnano said he is working on recovering the association’s Instagram account.

The account login information was lost some time ago, and steps are being made to find the passcodes, he said. Magnano said in the future, SGA will have its social media linked up to an official email account so other incidents like this may be averted.

No old business or new business was discussed.

Thomas Celles, The Current Sauce’s viewpoints editor, brought up an issue where university staff are leaving their offices before they are officially closed.

Ellis said this is a recurring issue and he will address it with the administration.

There will be no SGA meeting next Monday due to Mardi Gras break.