Higher Education Opportunities Act (HEOA)

Textbook Information Provision

In August 2008, the Higher Education Opportunities Act (HEOA) was signed into federal law. There are a number of HEOA provisions that impact Bloomfield College. Complying with the HEOA requirements is a condition for the College receiving student financial aid from the Federal government.

The Textbook Information section in the HEOA defines requirements for campuses to implement new practices that provide students access to information about textbook and course materials associated with the individual classes scheduled for each semester.

Frequently asked questions about HEOA's Textbook Information Provision

What's the Intention of the HEOA requirements?

The intention of textbook information requirements is:

  • To ensure that students have access to affordable course materials by decreasing costs to students and enhancing transparency and disclosure with respect to the selection, purchase, sale, and use of course materials." (See PURPOSE AND INTENT of Section 133 for more details).
  • To encourage all involved parties…to work together to identify ways to decrease the cost of college textbooks and supplemental materials for students while supporting the academic freedom of faculty members to select high quality course materials for students."

Will these requirements interfere with academic freedom?

The law contains a RULE OF CONSTRUCTION: "Nothing in this section shall be construed to supersede the institutional autonomy or academic freedom of the instructors involved in the selection of college textbooks, supplemental materials, and other classroom materials."

What are the essential requirements that campuses must satisfy?

"To the maximum extent practicable, each institution of higher education receiving Federal financial assistance shall—"Disclose, on the institution's internet course schedule and in a manner of the institution's choosing, the ISBN (International Standard Book Number) and retail price information of required and recommended college textbooks and supplemental materials for each course listed in the institution's course schedule used for preregistration and registration purposes"

Are there additional recommendations that campuses need to satisfy?

"An institution… is encouraged to disseminate to students information regarding

  • Availability of institutional programs for renting textbooks or purchasing used textbooks
  • Availability of institutional guaranteed textbook buy-back programs
  • Availability of alternative content delivery programs; or
  • Other available institutional cost-savings strategies"

You can provide students direct communications and through student organizations links to your campus bookstore.

What happens if a campus does not comply with these requirements and recommendations?

Complying with the HEOA requirements is a condition for the College receiving student financial aid from the Federal government. Non-compliance could put at risk $20 million in Federal student assistance for our students.

What do we do when we don't know what materials are assigned for the course?

"if the institution determines that the disclosure of the information described in this subsection is not practicable for a college textbook or supplemental material, then the institution shall so indicate by placing the designation "To Be Determined" in lieu of the information required under this subsection;"

There are many challenges to providing the textbook information in a timely and accurate manner. Classes are cancelled or added, faculty assignments to classes change sometimes at the last minute. Continuously improving the percentage of courses with textbook information over time is what we can reasonably do.