Associated Students of Madison passed legislation Tuesday evening in a 21-0-2 vote, encouraging an online textbook pilot program to reduce the cost of textbooks for University of Wisconsin students. The pilot program would ensure that all professors provide an online option for the textbook required for their course. 

The legislation hopes to reduce the financial burden of purchasing textbooks, ASM said in a news release. Projected potential savings are between 60 and 80 percent per textbook. Each e-textbook will be available to students via Canvas.

ASM hopes to have textbooks billed in tuition through the Bursar’s office so financial aid can apply, the news release said. 

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“Be it resolved that the Associated Students of Madison Student Council encourages students and faculty to support the online textbook pilot program,” the official legislation read.

Representative Denzel Bibbs voiced concerns that the mere adoption of this legislation was too lenient. Instead, he posed to Representative Alex Hader the possibility of making it a requirement.

“This whole piece of legislation came about after our discussion with Steve Cramer, the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning, and he’s completely on board with making this a requirement for professors,” Hader said. “We changed the wording to ‘encouraged’ because of academic freedom.”

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Despite this e-textbook initiative, hard copies of the books in question will still be available as they currently are at the University Bookstore. Additionally, through the new pilot program, students may request printed copies of the textbooks for $10 in case their classes have a no-devices policy.

Another section of this legislation mandates that professors must alert students of course material cost before class registration opens. 

ASM is hoping to work with the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning’s office to pilot the online textbook initiative for spring semester of 2018.