The University of Southern Mississippi has partnered with Barnes and Noble to launch a new textbook program.
Eagle Direct Textbooks is a program designed to lower costs for undergraduate student’s required course materials. The official website for the program states that it “[reduces] the cost of traditional textbooks by an average of 40 to 50%”.
“It’s a program that Barnes and Noble put together and is offering to schools that provides lower cost and better convenience [towards] materials for the first day of class rather than [waiting] for your financial aid to come through,” Andrew Beckwith, General Manager of Barnes and Noble at Southern Miss, said. “Southern Miss was convinced that the benefits of that would be a great enhancement to campus in terms of equity and accessibility and student success.”
Undergraduate students who utilize the plan will pay $20 per credit hour that they are enrolled in. However, the price range for each semester and each student may vary.
“If you’re taking 15 credit hours, which is pretty normal, and it’s $20 per credit hour, you’re going to pay $300 for everything that’s required by your professors, so in most cases that is going to be a great savings,” said Beckwith.
All undergraduate students are automatically enrolled in Eagle Direct. However, students have the option to opt out of the plan by going into their student account. Students have until the first add/drop deadline, six days after classes start, to opt-out for the semester.
“Everybody can look at the cost benefits for themselves and stay in the program or opt-out if they decide it’s not a good deal for them, cause some semesters it might not be if you have a bunch of classes that don’t need any text[books], […] but most of the time it’s gonna be a saving and a benefit for the greater population of the student body,” Beckwith said.
Some students have already chosen to opt-out of the plan before the semester began.
“Well, I opted out,” senior Criminal Justice major Tishona Cage said. “I feel like you can find your books cheaper on like Amazon or, you know, on any other textbook rental places versus here. The $320 I just don’t think that’s justifiable, I guess.”
Eagle Direct is not the only option for students for acquiring textbooks or other materials for class, either. Textbook Brokers has been a staple for Southern Miss students for years, and have stated they have the “lowest priced textbooks in Hattiesburg”. They were not able to respond to calls for a direct comment, but have been constantly emailing students to drop out of the program.
Moreover, students can also browse online for other options when seeking the best deal for their textbooks. Online textbooks rental companies, such as Chegg and Amazon Rentals, are other cost-effective ways students can save on course materials.
All that being said, some students are excited about the introduction of the Eagle Direct Textbook plan.
“I think as an incoming student it makes obtaining my textbooks really simple. I can get them all at one time, get them shipped to multiple places and I don’t have to worry about finding new or used ones. They just all come to me and I just give them back later,” freshman biology major Zachary Waits said.
Whether you opt-in with Eagle Direct, visit Textbook Brokers or browse online, students at the University of Southern Mississippi have more options to purchase or rent low-cost textbooks and other course materials than ever before.