By Molly Burke
The Office of Student Experience is collaborating with the Youngstown State University Bookstore to introduce the Pete Complete Book Program, which would allow students to include the cost of class-required books on tuition bills.
If approved by the YSU board of trustees, the program will be implemented fall 2024, students will have the choice to opt out.
John Chaump, regional manager for Barnes & Noble Education, Inc., said Pete Complete is an equitable access program.
“We’re helping all students be equitably prepared for their classes on the first day of school. We do this by charging a flat fee to include all required course materials for the classes they’re signed up [for],” Chaump said.
The flat fee students would pay is $23 per credit hour. Chaump said this can make class materials more affordable for students.
“When you look at some classes, sometimes one individual book can cost $300 per semester. When we look at the pricing and how we calculate it … we usually look at about between 30 and 50% savings [with the program],” Chaump said.
Although the program can help students save money, it may not always be beneficial. Chaump said he encourages students to see if they can save before determining if they should opt out.
“You look at your … whole academic journey, and there might be some semesters where it’s beneficial for you and some semesters when it’s not,” Chaump said. “That’s why … you have that opt out option, so a student can make an informed decision on what works best for them.”
Heather White, the bookstore manager, said Pete Complete is different from the First Day Ready Program that has been used for the past six years.
“First Day Ready is a … by course program. So with it, all sections of the class have to use the same materials, they get delivered digitally — there’s no print component to it,” White said. “The biggest change is that all students benefit from [the Pete Complete program] and it’s a mix of print and digital.”
Joy Polkabla Byers, associate vice president of Student Experience, said Pete Complete will help students succeed by having their course materials on the first day of school.
“I’ve heard of three students sharing a book and they all have the test at the same time,” Byers said. “Thinking about those things, ‘what are the challenges … [getting] it at a cheaper price,’ but then [students] have to wait for it to get here. All of this is the idea that the first day of class you’re prepared.”
Alan Tomhave, philosophy professor and associate dean of the Beeghly College of Liberal Arts, Social Sciences and Education, said he likes the transparency of the program.
“I like that it’s transparent. So you know, here’s how much it would cost if you stick with it, here’s how much it would cost if you opted out and bought the books separately.” Tomhave said. “[The program] allows for faculty to actually pick and choose and use the materials that are right for their version of their particular class.”
The Office of Student Experience is hosting twice-weekly meetings around campus and on Webex to inform and ask questions of any students, faculty or staff who attend. Meeting dates and locations can be found on the Office of Student Experience’s website.