Starting Spring 2021, Sam Houston State University will partner with Barnes & Noble to create the “Bearkat Bundle,” an all-encompassing, affordable textbook rental program. The program provides required paper and electronic textbooks, access codes and lab manuals to students by the first day of class each semester.
The Bearkat Bundle will charge students $23.75 per credit hour. For example, if a student has a 15-credit semester, they will be charged $356.25 unless they choose to opt out of the Bearkat Bundle via their website before the 12th class day.
SHSU previously recommended putting back $500 per semester for books and supplies, so by their estimate this new system will save the average student $150-200 per semester. Undergraduate students will be automatically enrolled into the program. However, students in the School of Nursing, who will eventually have their own program, and Graduate School will be excluded. Students in the College of Osteopathic Medicine currently have their own program.
Once Bearkats select their classes, the bookstore will prepare their order and the fee will be uploaded on their Student Account balance. Students can either pick up their textbooks or have them delivered before the first day of classes. Students are required to return their rentals by the deadline or can permanently purchase them.
The program was met with mixed feedback from students. While some feel that the program is beneficial, others feel that the bundle automatically opting students in is concerning.
Senior mass communication major Jovanna Aguilar questions the program’s authenticity, noting that cheaper options can better suit students.
“Although it may save some students money, the extra charge in tuition is never pleasant,” Aguilar said. “As a student who has never had to purchase textbooks from the school bookstore, I would be against it because I find ways to save way more by purchasing my books on cheaper platforms like Amazon, eBay and Chegg.”
Senior criminal justice major Adriana Williams acknowledges the program’s convenience, appreciating how this can help cut time spent searching for rentals.
“A program like this truly considers everyone’s time,” Williams said. “With being in school for four years, I’ve spent a crazy amount of time trying to find deals on usually expensive books. It can be a little stressful. With this bundle, the university is choosing suitable options for me and cutting my time trying to find tangible rentals.”
For more information about the Bearkat Bundle, visit shsu.edu/bearkatbundle.