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CTAP one year later: A useful program, with some strings attached

Lily Huynh/The Cougar

In Spring 2023, the Cougar Textbook Access Program was introduced to all undergraduates after its Spring 2022 pilot.

After one year of the program’s commencement, most students feel satisfied with the services and consider it to be useful.

“It has actually been really helpful because at my previous school when I took four or five classes it ended up being anywhere from $300 to $500 for the books,” said supply chain management junior Elizabeth Guardiola. “I loved how CTAP made it easier and it made way more sense.”

CTAP provides access to all required course materials for undergraduate students before the first day of classes and was integrated with the intention of providing cheaper and more accessible materials to students.  

The price for CTAP is $299 plus $24.67 sales tax for each fall and spring semester. The fees are automatically added to the students’ fee bill as a “CTAP Learning Material Fee” and “CTAP Learning Material Tax.”

The program fees are billed to the student account automatically, meaning scholarships and financial aid can be used to cover the payment.

CTAP fee helps save on the excessive expenditure on books, especially for students enrolled in more than four classes like Guardiola.

“I didn’t have to spend more than I need to since CTAP and get the necessary material at the same fee as opposed to previous semesters when I had to pay more than $300,” said strategic communication senior Jasmin Arredondo. 

Before the beginning of a semester, every undergraduate student is enrolled into CTAP by default and is able to opt-out according to their classes’ needs. 

Although the auxiliary services send daily reminders regarding the final opt-out date via email, some students feel it is unfair that everyone is enrolled by default. 

“This time I only have one class which requires CTAP but I missed the deadline and had to pay for an expensive option,” Guardiola said. “It would be better if we weren’t enrolled into CTAP by default.”

Students can opt-in and out as many times as they’d like until the 12th day of class, according to the requirement. 

Many of the materials received through CTAP are solely available online and students like Arredondo and  Guardiola feel it’s a much better option as compared to the physical books. 

“I enjoy digital books and think it’s more convenient as it does not weigh my backpack down,” Arredondo said. 

Although the general consensus is positive, students feel that the value of CTAP and its usefulness depends from class to class. 

“I would say CTAP is not beneficial when my textbooks are priced low or you could get them at a lower price elsewhere which is when I opt out,” Arredondo said. “It varies from person to person depending on how heavy or light your coursework is and what your professor deems required material.” 

While the program is available to all undergraduate students, the University will monitor graduate courses for possible future expansion for graduate students, according to the auxiliary services website.

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