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Policy 200.00

Textbook Policy

Owner: Senior Vice President and Chief Academic Officer

  1. Objective

    University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) recognizes that the rising cost of Course Materials (as defined below in Section III.) must be addressed in order to maintain our goal of higher education access and affordability for our students and to comply with Board of Regents (BOR) and University System of Maryland (USM) statutory requirements. This policy implements a business model and efficient process regarding Course Material selection and adoption designed to (1) reduce the cost of Course Materials to the students, (2) preserve and enhance the quality of educational materials, (3) maintain institutional autonomy, and (4) maintain the academic freedom of the university and the Academic Directors/administrators involved in the selection of Course Materials, (5) fulfill all external regulatory requirements.

  2. Introduction

    In accordance with the Policy III. – 10.00—Policy on Textbook Affordability Measures (Approved by the Board of Regents February 13, 2009) and Md. Code Ann. Education § 15-112, this Policy implements the following regarding the selection of Course Materials:

    1. The establishment of an open and transparent Competitive Course Materials Selection Process (as defined below) to reduce the price of Course Materials to the student.

    2. The establishment of fixed-price publisher contracts to secure multi-year Course Materials commitment periods that will reduce the frequency of price increases and enhance used-book market opportunities for students.

    3. Increase emphasis on the use of alternate, lower cost, textbook formats such as loose-leaf course material and electronic Course Materials.

    4. Increase emphasis on the early selection, adoption and posting of all required Course Materials.

    5. Require publishers to separately identify and price each individual component included in a bundled Course Materials package.

    6. Increase emphasis on the need for UMGC and the academic administrator's selecting Course Materials to seek new ways to lessen the financial hardship on the student in the purchase of Course Materials.

  3. Definitions
    The terms defined in this section are given special meanings in this Policy and are capitalized throughout.

    1. Book Store Offer Price. The price at which the publisher would make the Course Materials available to the Institutional Bookstore.

    2. Bundle. One or more college textbooks and/or other Supplemental Materials, as defined below, that are packaged together to be sold as Course Materials for one price.

    3. Commitment Period. The period in years for which the publisher agrees to provide the Course Materials to UMGC at firm fixed price with no content revision.

    4. Competitive Course Materials Selection Process. The annual UMGC textbook selection process that requires all textbook publishers to competitively bid on specifically issued Course Material requests at a fixed price for a specified multi-year commitment period.

    5. Custom Textbook. A textbook that is compiled by a publisher at the direction of a faculty member or other person or adopting entity in charge of selecting UMGC course materials. A Custom Textbook includes original instructor material, previously copyrighted material or copyrighted third-party material. A Custom Textbook does not include purely aesthetic changes when compared to a previous edition.

    6. Course Materials. The required textbook(s) and all required Supplemental Materials (as defined below) that have been determined as necessary for the instruction of a specific course, by the faculty designated responsible for selecting such Course Material.

    7. Institutional Bookstore. The UMGC designated online.

    8. Institutional Web site. The UMGC official Web site used for the posting of required course instructional material.

    9. Integrated Textbook. A textbook that is combined with (1) materials developed by a third party and that, by third-party contractual agreements, may not be offered by publishers separately from the college textbook with which the materials are combined, or (2) other materials that are so interrelated with the content of the college textbook that the separation of the college textbook from the other materials would render the college textbook unusable for its intended purpose.

    10. ISBN. The unique International Standard Book Number assigned to college course materials that is used by the publishers to identify each textbook edition and other course materials.

      1. Custom or Unique ISBN. The publisher's ISBN number assigned exclusively to UMGC resulting from the Competitive Course Materials Selection Process.

      2. Standard ISBN. The publisher's regular ISBN number assigned to specific course material. This is the equivalent ISBN number at which the course material is available for purchase at alternate bookstores or from other sources.

    11. Retail Price. The price at which the publisher would make the Course Materials available to the public.

    12. Substantial Material. A part of a college textbook indicating content revision, such as new chapters, new material, covering additional eras of time, new themes or new subject matter.

    13. Supplemental Material. Educational material developed to accompany a college textbook that is being used as a component of an integrated textbook. Supplemental Material includes printed materials and electronic material such as computer disks and web access codes.

  4. Competitive Course Materials Selection Process

    The UMGC Competitive Course Materials Selection Process is adapted to facilitate achievement of the university objectives identified in Section I above. These objectives will be accomplished by implementing a UMGC Competitive Course Materials Selection Process that encompasses the following:

    1. To reduce the cost of Course Materials to students, UMGC will establish and maintain an annual UMGC Competitive Course Materials Selection Process that requires all textbook publishers during a pre-designated period to competitively bid for specific textbook material requests. Publisher bids for this competition are required to be fixed price for a specified multi-year commitment period, with all Bundle components separately identified and priced.

    2. To preserve and enhance the quality of Course Materials, UMGC will establish an effective and efficient process to undertake a systematic and organized evaluation of all publisher-offered Course Materials to determine the best Course Materials for their course—based on consideration of both academic content and price. 

    3. To assure students a reasonable period of time to select their Course Materials from among the various sources and options made available, UMGC will post on its Institutional Web site the final Course Materials selected no later than May 1 for the fall semester and December 1 for the spring semester. 

    4. To maintain the academic freedom of the university and the faculty members involved in the selection of Course Materials, UMGC will establish a Competitive Course Materials Selection Process where the final decision regarding the selection of specific Course Materials rests with the respective dean or designee in conjunction with the Senior Vice President and Chief Academic Officer (SVP/CAO) or designee.

    5. It is the firm intention of this policy that, subject to academic content considerations, where possible, the faculty member selecting the Course Materials are to strive to achieve: (1) the best value or lowest cost for the best materials price, (2) the longest feasible commitment period, (3) the elimination of unnecessary Course Materials and (4) the maximum flexibility for student purchase options to include consideration of: used books, e-textbooks and low cost plain paper editions.

  5. Competitive Course Materials Selection Practices

    The University will adhere to the following list of best practices when selecting Course Materials for their respective courses. Any significant deviation from these best practices will require prior approval by the SVP/CAO. 

    1. Program Directors responsible for selecting Course Materials from publishers will assure that the publisher has provided the following information prior to selection: 

      1. The Book Store Offer Price and the Retail Price. 

      2. The title, author, publisher, edition and ISBN of all Course Materials, i.e., each college textbook and all Supplemental Material required for both Bundle and unbundled items. 

      3. In the case of new editions an identification of the Substantial Content revision from the previous edition. 

      4. The identification of other available alternative Course Material formats such as paperback, unbound or e-material. 

      5. For Bundle Course Materials the publisher has identified a separate ISBN and price for each individual bundle component sufficient to allow separate purchase of the component. 

    2. When the publisher has available for sale an electronic version of the course materials, the electronic copy must also be offered to the student as a separately priced alternative to the print course material. 

    3. Where academically feasible, a range of various priced acceptable course material alternatives should be provided—such as three whole punched loose-leaf or grey scale. 

    4. Program Directors selecting Course Materials from publishers shall prepare a formal Course Materials request form identifying: the current textbook, all Supplemental Material, any new Course Material requirements, the average semester enrollment, the course description, the course objectives, the desired commitment period and any other essential information deemed necessary for the publisher to submit a compliant textbook proposal. 

    5. Program Directors selecting Course Materials from publishers shall establish a Textbook Selection Committee of one or more faculty to review, evaluate, select and justify the best Course Materials based on academic content and price considerations. 

    6. Program Directors selecting Course Materials from publishers shall encourage and assure: (1) early selection and adoption of Course Materials; (2) the maximum usage of used Course Material and previous editions—when possible; (3) that the majority of the required Course Materials are actually used in the class. 

    7. Program Directors selecting Course Materials from publishers shall assure: (1) the selected edition is appropriate in that there are Substantial Content differences between the new and old version, and (2) that any price change is warranted due to the Substantial Content changes. 

    8. Program Directors selecting Course Materials shall assure for all Bundle Course Materials that each component of the Bundle is required for the course and that each component is identified and priced separately for individual purchase by the student. 

  6. Reporting Requirements

    The Deputy Chief Academic Officer or designee is responsible for compliance with all reporting requirements and the coordination of all related reports and responses.

  7. Responsibilities

    The SVP/CAO has overall responsibility for this policy.

Original Policy Approval Date11/2/09
Substantive Revision Dates 
Technical Amendment Dates4/17/20