The textbook loan program is one of several services available to help students who qualify for Student Support Services. To qualify, students must be registered with the office of Services for Students with Disabilities, be first-generation college students, or be considered low-income according to federal guidelines.

“Our goal is to help students who are first-generation or low-income or have disabilities complete their degree within six years,” said Donalyn Sessions, an educational adviser for SSS who supervises the book loan program. “We are academic support, and the book loan is a sidelight to that.”

The SSS is funded through grants and is able to serve 285 students each academic year. Each year, the program takes in 50–80 new students. Once a student applies and is accepted into the program, the SSS continues to provide services for that student until he or she graduates, even if his or her circumstances change.

The book loan program specifically is funded primarily by the academic support division.

“It helps out a lot with the overall cost of books,” said SSS receptionist Mario Mendes. “Some of your more expensive books you can get from here for free because they will loan it out to you for the semester.”

Mendes has personally used the textbook loan program.

“I see a lot of students come in, and their eyes light up when they see that they can get these books for free,” Mendes said. “It’s just one less thing they have to pay, because books are ridiculous and it helps to get some of them for free.”

According to Collegedata.com, the price of college textbooks has risen 186 percent since 1986 and continues to rise. The average textbook costs $175, and a student can expect to spend an average of $1,200 for the 2012–13 school year.

Although the price of textbooks is on the rise, Sessions said an inability to afford textbooks has always been a problem for students.

“Even back when textbooks were all $20, it was too much for a student,” Sessions said. “The fact that it can be $100 or more for a book — that’s $100 or more that you’d rather not spend.”

The textbook loan program has been available with SSS for years. Sessions said it has been around at least for the past 10 years.

“I’m amazed at how many people don’t know about this,” said off-campus centers coordinator Galynn Mook. “I’ve seen the prices of books, and you almost can’t really get a book, so that, to me, is the most beneficial monetary service that they do.”

Almost all of the books available for this semester have been on reserve since spring, Sessions said. Even though most books are currently unavailable, Sessions encourages students who qualify for the program to put in requests for the books in case they become available. Qualifying students are also encouraged to request textbooks for upcoming semesters as early as possible.

“We try to obtain all of the textbooks students request,” Sessions said. “As long as we know in advance what we need, we try to meet everyone’s needs.”

All of the textbooks available in the textbook loan program can be reused by multiple students. Students and faculty are encouraged to donate textbooks to the SSS to assist the textbook loan program.

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