Already paying for tuition, housing and food, Lycoming College is hoping to help students' wallets when it comes to textbooks this fall with a new rental program.
As students made their way around the school's bookstore during the first week of classes, some students had the option of buying or renting textbooks for a cheaper price.
As Patricia Bausinger, store manager, noted, they weren't just old, used books - some were brand new.
Patricia Bausinger, bookstore manager, stands next to a poster on Lycoming College’s campus that advertises the school’s new textbook rental program.
A stack of textbooks display a sticker showing that it can be purchased or rented. The rental cost is a lower price than purchase price. Students still can write and highlight in the book as long as it is returned with no other damage.
"One of the things we started to look at is to give the students options. They needed options to keep the costs of textbooks down," Bausinger said.
For example, one new book could cost a student $122 to buy, but the student could rent it for the semester for $66.
And the renting student has the same freedom with the rented textbook as one purchased.
"You can write in it, you can highlight in it. We just ask ... that you return it in decent condition," Bausinger said.
Although writing and highlighting is allowed, the store will not accept water or any other damage that would make the book unusable.
If a book is returned in poor condition, the student will be charged the full price of the book.
Bausinger estimated about one-third of the store's textbooks were eligible for renting during the fall semester.
She said this semester was the first of three steps to implement the program.
In the spring 2013 semester, Bausinger said the program will see a "full-blown" implementation.
But, Bausinger added, not every book can be rented.
She said there were "certain limitations," such as workbooks and sets of books that come with CDs or DVDs that can only be sold, but any book that can be rented will be available for rent in the spring.
"Our goal is to rent pretty much everything we can," she said.
The final piece of the plan is to allow students to rent the books online, like they do when preordering books on the store's website before the semester starts.
"Kids today, they want options. They want affordable options," Bausinger said.
Bausinger went on to say that the bookstore saw more traffic at the beginning of the semester than it did in previous semesters.
She said students are interested in learning more about it, as they have found other options with other online companies to rent or buy the required textbooks.
"Their first question is, 'How much is it to rent,' and the students look at kind of how much savings it is," Bausinger said.
She added that the store was trying to find ways of lowering book costs and saw other institutions of higher education renting, so Lycoming decided to as well.
"We saw more and more schools getting on the bandwagon," Bausinger said.
Since Sept. 6, Bausinger said the rental program has saved 144 students about $11,700.
She added that there's no need to think more won't use the program in the future.
"It's been very, very positive. We haven't heard anything negative," Bausinger said. "If anything, they want more."