The high cost of access codes

Katie Loudermilk, Staff

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Along with the high cost of college tuition, students also face the difficulties of paying for textbooks required for their courses. There are ways to avoid the book store, such as, cheaper options online. However, this is not the case with the Pearson Access Codes. The book stores are not helping either.

Amber Smith, a freshman at the Plant City Campus, purchased an access code for a math course from the campus bookstore. After opening the package, she discovered she was given the wrong code.

“I was confused because I gave them my schedule and they handed the books I needed for my classes,” says Smith.

The campus bookstores have strict policies that state access codes may not be returned if opened.

“I went back to the store to see if they could help me, but they told me to call Pearson without even giving me a number to call,’” explains Smith, “My professor was the one who helped me get this issue resolved.”

Access Codes are needed to have access to an online textbook, online quizzes and class activities. They are pricy compared to the traditional printed book and only last for one year, so students are not able to return them or trade them with other students. The access code for MAT 0028 costs $126.00.

“Students can return codes if opened and unused on rare circumstances, but we try not to get into that,” a bookstore representative states.

Albe Colon shared his story about needing to return a defective access code to the Plant City Book Store.

“I was scratching off the silver sticker to see my code and the whole thing peeled off and I could not read the code,” says Colon.

He went to the bookstore for some help.

“They ended up returning my book but ordered a replacement that forced me to wait a 10-day span without the guarantee of it coming on time,” explains Colon.

He had to use a temporary code that did not last him long enough to get his permanent code.

Another issue is purchasing access codes online through the bookstore.

According to the Textbook Affordability Act of 2016, “Florida law now requires instructors to post course textbook information before the start of each term, giving students the option to locate and purchase their books at the lowest price.”

Students are able to click a link that will take them to the bookstore price of the book. The access codes are listed but are also offered used. For example, a used access code for MAT 0028 is $94.50. This offer contradicts their return policy of returning used or opened access codes. When asked about used codes, the Plant City Bookstore had no comment.

Some students have no other choice but to purchase their books from the bookstores due to Financial Aid. However, for those who pay out-of-pocket, take advantage of Chegg, Amazon, Pearson or other online rental companies.

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