Students will soon begin ordering textbooks for their fall classes, but the majority of UH professors have failed to let the University know what the required texts will be.
Texas public universities like UH are required by House Bill 33 to set a deadline for their professors to make the information available, but over half of the professors missed the deadline in the spring semester and have yet to turn in a list.
“The Higher Education Opportunity Act requires professors and instructors to submit this information to the university so students are aware of what books they need to purchase for the upcoming school year,” said Student Government Association President Cedric Bandoh in the SGA senate meeting June 6.
House Bill 33 was signed into law in June 2011, and this fall will be the first semester to which it applies, but UH professors have been required to submit their fall textbook lists in the spring for much longer.
“We have different participation levels every year, so some years we do better than others,” said Executive Director of Auxiliary Services Esmeralda Valdez.
This year, the professors’ textbook deadline for the fall semester was in late March. According to Bandoh, only 45 percent of professors made this deadline.
“(The deadlines) might seem a little early, but actually they coincide with the academic calendar,” Valdez said. “We know that the academic calendar opens up registration for fall in April, so the deadline for the book orders will be in March so that the students registering for fall actually know what the course requirements will be.”
Without the information, Bandoh said, the UH bookstore can’t buy as many used textbooks from students it will need for the fall semester. Students also do not know which books to purchase.
“So the problem we are running into now is we have students going into the bookstore wanting to know if they can buy their books back,” Bandoh said. “The bookstore is having to turn them away because faculty members have not notified them of what textbooks are required for the next semester.”
During the meeting, Bandoh encouraged the senators to put pressure on their respective college’s faculty and administration to make textbook information available.
“You guys need to go to the colleges and say, ‘Hey, only 45 percent of you have turned in your books,’” Bandoh said. “Whatever the excuse is, I think it’s very important that we take some time out of our schedules to make this a priority over the next few weeks.”
House Bill 33 also includes other requirements meant to help lower the prices students pay for textbooks, like making information on ways the institution can help students save money more widely available and selling the individual parts of textbook bundles, according to the bill’s text.
The bill’s text is available online at www.tinyurl.com/bqbyv5p.