Textbook program provides options for students

Gigi Huie fills out paperwork to receive her book through the Project Connect book loan program on Tuesday, Sept. 3 in the Project Connect office in the Cesar Chavez Student Center. Photo by Dariel Medina / Xpress
Gigi Huie fills out paperwork to receive her book through the Project Connect book loan program on Tuesday, Sept. 3 in the Project Connect office in the Cesar Chavez Student Center. Photo by Dariel Medina / Xpress

Cash-strapped students no longer have to struggle to pay for the textbooks at SF State this semester because Project Connect has the hook-up.

The campus group ran by Associated Students, Inc. encourages students to not skip out on purchasing school books because they are too pricey; instead students can obtain their textbooks for low or no cost through a campus book loan or rental program.

“We want to make sure low-income, underrepresented students, and all San Francisco State students succeed, and one of the ways we think they can succeed is if we can help them get their tools to do well in their classes,” said Mario Flores, the Director of Associated Students, Inc. Project Connect, the student government organization that runs the campus book loan program, which is in its sixth year.

More than 30 students were lined up outside of the Project Connect office waiting to check out their books during the first day of school.

Errol Buada, Asian American studies major, managed to be at the front of the line.

“Money is kind of tight,” Buada said. “I’m a financial aid student, any type of help I can get, might as well take advantage of it.”

Before finding this program, Buada would use a previous edition of a book required or borrow one from a friend if he couldn’t afford the newest edition.

Project Connect also manages the Book Swap page on Facebook where students can communicate with each other by posting which books they have or need and negotiating a sale.

The program has 1,900 books available for free to all SF State students with about 1,000 loaned every year. This semester 411 students completed the applications and 358 applications were approved.

The largest number of requests have come from the Business and Science students, according to Flores.

Some students still prefer to own their books and add them to their personal library like liberal arts major Maria Guadalupe Diaz who orders her books online.

“It’s definitely less of a hassle and usually a lot cheaper than going to a store and waiting to get your books,” said Diaz.

She uses websites like Amazon and Bigwords, a site that asks users to enter their entire textbook list and then searches the internet to find the best deal.

“Buying books online means I avoid the lines at the bookstore when school starts and save money,” said Diaz. “By the first or second day in class, I already have all my books.”

The Follett operated SFSU Bookstore uses their website to help students bypass early semester long lines. The website now allows students to place orders for books for shipment or pick up, so they can avoid lines of students.

Partnered with Follett, The SFSU Bookstore is one of 15 campus bookstores to make every textbook eligible for rent, according to Stacia Doss, a CCW Worldwide public relations agent on behalf of the bookstore.

“I think it’s important that students heading back to SFSU know they can save big through this new program,” said Doss.

Students can rent all of their textbooks for the semester for about half the price of a new or used book. Rented books are due the last day of finals, and there are no fines if they are written in or highlighted.

“My team and I are really in it to find ways to get students the best value, in an accessible format in convenient locations — which is here,” said bookstore manager Robert Strong. “My goal is to get them to come to the bookstore because it’s the most convenient place, and I truly believe that.”

Students can rent books from the SFSU Bookstore throughout the whole semester. Books can be borrowed from Project Connect’s book loan program until September 27.

This article was changed to clarify the job title of Stacia Doss from bookstore representative to CCW Worldwide public relations agent for the SF State bookstore.