The university is beginning a new program in Fall 2021 that promises to pass on big savings to students renting textbooks.
Panther Book Pack is an initiative that provides undergraduates course materials at a flat rate of $20 per credit hour. Beginning this fall semester, students will automatically be signed up to receive books that faculty require. Panthers can have the books delivered to them at an off-campus location; get them at the on-campus bookstore; or access them digitally on Canvas.
Students have the ability to opt-out of the program on MyFIU at the Panther Book Pack tile and obtain rentals on their own. But that could mean missing out on savings.
The Panther Book Pack flat rate is $300 for a 15-credit course load. Previously, FIU recommended students budget $600 for books and supplies each semester.
"This textbook affordability initiative is focused on offering the lowest cost possible and equitable access to undergraduate course materials for our students. While students have the ability to opt-out, those who choose to remain in the program have one less thing to worry about as they begin their semester, and they can focus on a seamless and successful beginning," says Senior Vice President of Academic & Student Affairs Elizabeth Bejar.
The new partnership is an initiative between the university and Barnes & Noble. FIU is the first university in the Florida State University System to implement a flat-rate program for course materials.
“FIU has a strong tradition of driving course material affordability as well as leading the state of Florida in initiatives that lower costs to students," says Andy Shaffer, director of stores for Barnes & Noble College. "We are incredibly proud to partner with FIU in the Panther Book Pack program, where all students receive their required course materials — in digital and/or physical format — before the first day of class."
Shaffer adds that the program will save the average student 35 to 50 percent off the costs of their course materials.
All rentals will be due for return by the last day of finals. Students can drop off their materials at the campus bookstore.
The cost is added to each student's account and can be paid either by financial aid or out of pocket. Payment is due by the last day to pay for tuition and fees. Holds may be applied to one's FIU student account if the balance is not paid in full.
"The Panther Book Pack is a great step forward for inclusivity and affordability for universities, and we hope it is expanded to other universities," says SGA President Alexander Rubido. "For FIU students, in particular, it is going to enormously cut down the cost they have to pay for textbooks. It's going to make textbook availability accessible for all students, as it will be billed alongside tuition as part of how you live at FIU."