An Iowa House committee approved a bill Wednesday that could make it easier for students at community colleges and the three state universities to buy textbooks outside their university bookstores. The bill would require universities to post an identifying number on-line for each textbook to make it easier for students to shop around.
"This bill has created a lot of buzz among the students, and they’re very much supporting it," says Representative Bill Schickel, a Republican from Mason City, "and they’ve complained constantly about the high cost of textbooks and when they are able to identify them on-line and get other versions, they’re able to get them at substantially reduced rates."
Schickel says some Iowa college students complaining of textbook bills that run into the thousands of dollars. "If in fact that’s true, then that just indicates to me that there’s been gouging going on," Schickel says, "the students know that, the parents know that, and this will give them some relief from that."
The Legislative Services Bureau estimates the change could cost the schools some money for extra staff to enter the information on-line. Iowa State University, the University of Iowa, and some community colleges already post the textbook information for students.