Book Grant Offers Students Opportunity to Save Cash

Sose Frankyan

Many students do not have the means and resources to pay for textbooks and there is a need for something to be done to help them with the costs.

The Book Assistance Program helps qualified students pay for a portion of their textbooks.

Applicants for the program must be Board of Governor fee waiver (BOG) eligible students or qualify as AB 540 or be an international student and currently have a minimum 2.5 G.P.A. Also, they need to be enrolled in a minimum of six academic units, have completed the English and Math Placement Tests, completed a GCC Orientation session and have met with a counselor to complete a Student Educational Plan (SEP).

The campus offers students various ways to pay for textbooks. The Extended Opportunity Program and Services (EOPS) funded by California, offers book vouchers for low-income and educationally disadvantaged students. However, applicants must be California residents, be a full-time student, have completed less than 30 units in order to enter the program and must qualify for BOG “A” or “B.” Upon completion of 70 units and/or six semesters students no longer qualify for EOPS.

“The international and AB 540 students do not get any financial aid at all and often times struggle to pay for college fees,” said Susan Dougherty, the success network coordinator. AB 540 students are those who have attended a high school in California for three years or more and have graduated from a California high school.

Another option to pay for textbooks is the Emergency Student Book Loan offered by the Associated Students of Glendale Community College (ASGCC) where students can get a loan of $100 per semester. Students have 30 days to repay the loan.

According to Dougherty, “Many students stopped attending school because they were not able to afford the books.”
In the past two decades the textbook prices have nearly doubled at a rate of inflation. This has discouraged many students to attend college since they also need to worry about paying for tuition on top of textbooks.

“Something needed to be done to help students with book costs,” said Scott Ziegler, the co-founder of the Book Assistance Program.

The funding for the program is provided through donations from faculty and classified staff and a one time donation of $25,000 from ASGCC. Various fundraisings, such as hamburger cook-off and raffle tickets help raise money for the fund.
However, student volunteers are needed to help out with various fundraising activities. “My dream is to go out in the community and find someone who would sponsor us with a lot of money,” added Dougherty.

According to Patricia Bradley, Glendale College Bookstore Book Buyer, “Students think that we are doing a 100 percent mark-up on book prices, but that is not true.”

The bookstore buys the books from the publisher and marks up books 22 to 25 percent.

“About every two years books go into newer editions and the problem with staying with old editions is trying to get a hold of the old copies to have enough for each student,” said Bradley.

During finals week the bookstore buys back the used books if the book is going to be used again for the next semester. In this case students get 50 percent money back. However, if the book is not going to be used for the next semester then the price is dropped to wholesale value. “We add $20 to $25 on the used books,” added Bradley.

“The Book Assistance Program is a very good program,” said student Arash Taheri, who has been receiving help from the program for two semesters now. “After completion of 70 units I lost my EOPS voucher, but fortunately the same semester I got a $100 book voucher from the Book Assistance Program, which was a big help,” said Taheri.

According to Ziegler, “So far we have been able to help any student who has asked for the help, but it will not be the case since more and more students are finding out about the program and we have limited funds.” Some students have donated their used books in case if students need them then instead of the voucher they can just borrow the books. “Our biggest issue right now is fundraising, but we are working on better fundraising options,” added Ziegler.

For more information about the Book Assistance Program contact Susan Dougherty at (818) 240-1000, ext. 5318 or Scott Ziegler at (818) 240-1000, ext. 3366.