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The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

TXST reflects on BookSmart program

Nichaela Shaheen
Sales associate Becca Muro helps students find textbooks, Monday, Aug. 21, 2023 in San Marcos.

Last spring, Texas State announced its partnership with BookSmart, a program that helps reduce the cost and elevate financial stress of textbooks and course materials to undergraduate students. 

Students pay $249 per semester for the program, which grants them access to all their course materials digitally through Canvas or at the bookstore. BookSmart also provides students the option to opt-out of the program if they choose to, with the deadline being Sep. 6.

It was estimated that this program would save Texas State students approximately $12 million in its first year compared to purchasing new printed textbooks. 

Kaleigh Davis, an English freshman, said her experience with the BookSmart program has been positive compared to her past experiences in her dual credit courses in high school. “Whenever I decided that I was going to go to Texas State, part of my worry, and my fear was I’m not responsible enough to make a list of every textbook that I need… but whenever I heard about BookSmart I was really happy to hear about it,” Davis said. 

Davis said the program has been convenient and has found the stress that comes when purchasing course materials has decreased. 

“You don’t have to pay out of pocket for all your materials, then wait for everything to come, so I feel like it’s kind of money being put back in your pocket because you didn’t waste it yourself on something that you probably wouldn’t even need,” Davis said. 

Perla Ballardo, a biology and education junior, said she can see how BookSmart can be a helpful program for first-year students. However, Ballardo said she has found her own experience with the program stressful and has had issues with receiving her course materials on time. 

“In my chemistry class, we were supposed to have a quiz, but because we don’t have access to the textbook, my professor had trouble finding where to look for the book. We are now pushed back a week, ” Ballardo said. “For my other classes, the teachers didn’t know, it was the students who had to explain to the class how to get their books.”

Brian Deer, a philosophy lecturer, said he does not utilize the BookSmart program, but said these programs help students obtain their necessary course materials. 

“One of the benefits is that the cost is incorporated into the tuition, so it’s already going to be paid for and all students will have access to their book,” Deer said. “I don’t think [the available resources] are going to affect… how often or how much the students read, but everyone will absolutely have access to the reading materials now.” 

Joseph Trevino, a music alumnus of Texas State, recalls how expensive textbooks were while he was attending university. 

“They were very expensive and oftentimes the textbook wasn’t utilized in the course as you would hope,” Trevino said. “Considering they cost upwards to $200 to $300 for textbooks that maybe were used two or three times.” 

Trevino, now a high school band director for Martin High School in Laredo, Texas, said how a program like BookSmart could have helped him as not only a music major, but as a college student overall. 

“It was very expensive, because you were constantly spending money and we would take all these classes which would make it difficult to have a job,” Trevino said. “I had to budget really strictly to be able to afford my textbooks each semester, so if this program really is making it affordable for students, that would have been a tremendous commodity for us.” 

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